The Diamondbacks announced on Twitter that manager Chip Hale has named Nick Ahmed as the team’s starting shortstop and Chris Owings as the starting second baseman. As a result, veteran Aaron Hill will be relegated to a bench role. The D-Backs are actively trying to trade Hill, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports.
Hill, 33, is owed $12 million for the 2015 season and $12 million next season as well, a portion of which the Diamondbacks would be expected to cover. Hill missed considerable time in 2013 due to a fracutred hand and missed several games throughout the 2014 season due to various ailments, though none resulted in a stint on the disabled list. Nevertheless, given Hill’s age and health history, he would be considered an injury risk.
Ahmed, 25, hit his way into a starting role by batting .328 over 58 at-bats in Cactus League play. Owings hit only .244 in 41 at-bats.
On Sunday, we learned that while the Nationals would continue to pay their minor leaguers throughout the month of June, their weekly stipend would be lowered by 25 percent, from $400 to $300. In an incredible act of solidarity, Nationals reliever Sean Doolittle and his teammates put out a statement, saying they would be covering the missing $100 from the stipends.
After receiving some criticism, the Nationals reversed course, agreeing to pay their minor leaguers their full $400 weekly stipend.
Doolittle and co. have not withdrawn their generosity. On Wednesday, Doolittle released another statement, saying that he and his major league teammates would continue to offer financial assistance to Nationals minor leaguers through the non-profit organization More Than Baseball.
The full statement:
Washington Nationals players were excited to learn that our minor leaguers will continue receiving their full stipends. We are grateful that efforts have been made to restore their pay during these challenging times.
We remain committed to supporting them. Nationals players are partnering with More Than Baseball to contribute funds that will offer further assistance and financial support to any minor leaguers who were in the Nationals organization as of March 1.
We’ll continue to stand with them as we look forward to resuming our 2020 MLB season.
Kudos to Doolittle and the other Nationals continuing to offer a helping hand in a trying time. The players shouldn’t have to subsidize their employers’ labor expenses, but that is the world we live in today.