While the rest of the world waits to find out whether or not Jose Reyes will sign with the Marlins, the Arizona Diamondbacks were busy signing a middle infielder of their own, Aaron Hill.
The Snakes made a mid-season swap of disappointing second baseman by trading Kelly Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for Aaron Hill and John McDonald, who the Diamondbacks have already re-signed. At the time, the D’Backs were trading one problem for another, but banking that they’d at least be getting better defense from Hill and then maybe the switch to the Senior Circuit could rejuvenate his bat as well.
Check and check.
Hill arrived in the desert and helped upgrade the infield defense as promised, but he also raked with his bat, posting a .315/.386/.492 slash line. Certainly Arizona had to be happy with how that acquisition turned out. However, they weren’t happy enough to exercise the $8 million club option they had on Hill, which is understandable since Hill was coming off a 2010 campaign in which he hit .205 and then posted a meager .313 SLG with Toronto before being traded. A model of consistency Hill most certainly is not.
With their new two-year, $11 million pact though, the Diamondbacks get to hedge their bets a bit. At worst, the Diamondbacks are overpaying by a small amount for a veteran second baseman with a reliable glove and a 20-homer bat, though there may not be much batting average or OBP to back up that power. On the other hand, if Hill is able to put up numbers like he did in his abbreviated debut with the D’Backs, or anything close to it, then they just got themselves two years worth of an All-Star second baseman for about half of the normal going rate. That definitely sounds like a risk worth taking for the Diamondbacks, with the added bonus that it is another step towards maintaining continuity in a roster that is fresh off a surprising AL West title.