D’Backs Wanted Defense, Infield Depth

Talk of draft pick compensation, club options and future salaries is valid after any trade, including the one the Diamondbacks just made with the Blue Jays. But the D’Backs didn’t make this move with an eye on future seasons or drafts. 

Kelly Johnson

“This deal was really made with a focus on ‘how do we get better for the next five weeks and stay ahead of the Giants’,” GM Kevin Towers explained this evening on a conference call with reporters.

Ever since Stephen Drew’s season ended, the D’Backs have been short-handed up the middle. They wanted to rely on Willie Bloomquist less, so Towers and the Blue Jays discussed Aaron Hill, someone the D’Backs have been eyeing for a while. The second baseman isn’t having much of a season at the plate, but Towers says his power could return against National League pitching. 

“We’re hoping that a change of scenery can not only spark our club, but spark these two guys,” Towers said, referring to Hill and John McDonald

Even if Chase Field doesn’t coax extra base power out of Hill, who has a 36-homer season to his name, Towers won’t mind. The deal, which included the versatile McDonald, was about defense. Though Towers didn't express disappointment in Kelly Johnson’s defense, he did say he's looking forward to adding the pair of former Blue Jays to his infield.

Hill has two $8MM team options for 2012-13, yet they aren't a major consideration for the D'Backs at this point at this point. It was “doubtful” that Johnson (pictured) would have returned after 2012, according to Towers, so the D’Backs were willing to part with him for Hill, regardless of whether Hill returns to Arizona in 2012. 

That Hill and McDonald strike out less than Johnson (132 Ks this year) is a bonus for Towers, who has been looking to reduce Arizona’s strikeout totals since last year. Plus, they’re two “great guys” who drew personal praise from Diamondbacks people and others in baseball. 

For the two nice guys to finish first, the D’Backs will have to maintain their current one-game lead over the defending World Champion Giants. Arizona could even obtain more help this month, since Towers may not be done dealing yet. 

“We’ll keep working the phone lines until the end,” he said.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.

21 Responses to D’Backs Wanted Defense, Infield Depth Leave a Reply

  1. $1742854 4 years ago

    Maybe McDonald can knee someone in the head turning a double play

    • Speak no ill of Johnny Mac!! sacrilege! 

    • do you want some ice for that sore loser

    • Jose_Bautista 4 years ago

      Johnny Mac is probably the most nicest person you will ever find….including outside of  baseball.

      • jwsox 4 years ago

        Jim Thome would like to sit you down over a nice dinner, just the two of you. Maybe Steak or Lobster. A nice bottle of wine, and a fine cigar right after, picking up the tab for the entire night of course. And politely disagree with you, then pat you on the back and apologize for disagreeing with you. Then he will drive you home and thank you for a wonderful evening.

  2. Today in Awesome:  Kelly Johnson has been at least 4 runs better on defense in each of the last 3 seasons than Aaron Hill, according to Fangraphs.

    • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

      according to UZR, you mean. fangraphs also hosts DRS and +/-, which will tell you quite the opposite

  3. Arizona’s Infielders should all be nicknamed Blue Jays. They are all former Blue Jays! Roberts, J Mac, Hill and Overbay

    • FowlofCanada 4 years ago

      …or the snowbirds like those who have gone down south to retire.

    • Leonard Washington 4 years ago

      They had the O-Dog there for a bit too some years ago.

    • OKGOJAYS85 4 years ago

      What does that tell you about the difference between AL and NL. No way that infield leads the AL east by one game but it looks like it might just do in the NL.

  4. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    Aaron Hill, the throw in.

  5. AZJack6 4 years ago

    Hey this deal could be a great deal for the dbacks.  Kelly Johnson was striking out at Reynolds-Dunnesque numbers for what? 18 hr and .287 obp?  at least reynolds and dunn of old would hit 30+ hr.  And Johnson is a good player, but is underachieving at an alarming rate.  Johnny Mac will be a good guy to platoon with Willie and Hill hopefully feels rejuvenated here in Az and posts numbers of old, Baylor is a great hitting coach and that will help him maybe figure some things out.  Johnson will be good for Toronto, but I like the deal for the D’backs.  Now they just need one more starter, a guy to fill in for 5 weeks, Wade Miley aint it, so maybe a Jason Vargas or a Jeremy Guthrie.  You wont see Skaggs or Parker this year, expect them next year.  bauer will be a september bullpen call-up.

  6. Leonard Washington 4 years ago

    Solid trade all around. Hill has major bounce back potential if he renegotiates a deal for next season. Johnson could be very solid as well, I mean its Toronto come on hes hitting at least 25 bombs next season haha.

  7. jaydubdub 4 years ago

    BNS, could you write a more obvious paragraph?

    For the two nice guys to finish first, the D’Backs will have to maintain their current one-game lead over the defending World Champion Giants. Arizona could even obtain more help this month, since Towers may not be done dealing yet.

    Thanks for those insights.

  8. OKGOJAYS85 4 years ago

    I like that this trade is a Win-Win for both teams and the players involved. Hill gets a change of scenery and different pitching to hit, he also gets a shot at the playoffs. McDonald was going to be relegated to the bench here in Toronto for the last month so we could evaluate some of the minor talent, so now he could get regular time and also a chance at the end of his career to see the playoffs. 
    Arizona gets a pair of defensive guys who have years of experience playing together, and they also get two guys who run the bases pretty well. McDonald can return to Toronto next year (I have a feeling there is a handshake agreement there somewhere) and we get a month to evaluate Johnson against AL pitching and an outside chance at compensation. 
    McDonald was interviewed yesterday and it was showed after the game. He pretty much said he asked AA for an opportunity to go to a team where he might be of some use in the last month of the season and that he loves Toronto and will not be gone for long. (He came back after we leased him to DET). 
    In an ideal world Hill performs for Arizona and Johnson performs in Toronto and both get resigned. Then Johnny Mac come back home to T.O.

  9. here’s my guess: 

    there was an agreement between the clubs that the d-backs won’t offer hill arbitration.

    that way when the jays offer johnson arbitration they’ll gain a draft pick when he declines.

    they’ll resign johnny mac and aaron hill and not surrender a draft pick by signing hill who is also a type B free agent.

    basically a trade of similar player in hill and johnson.

    dbacks get johnny mac to play short for 2011.

    jays get a draft pick and both johnny mac and hill back next season.

    • HerbertAnchovy 4 years ago

      I really cannot see Aaron Hill returning to The Jays. I hope J-Mac does.

      I’m thinking AA will try to re-sign Johnson (who he’s always coveted).

      • vilifyingforce 4 years ago

        Agreed. I don’t see Hill coming back unless it’s as a bench player. I can easily see Johnny Mac coming back.

    • Failed logic considering the Jays wouldn’t have to give up a pick for a Type B free agent. Arizona would get a supplamental pick.

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