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Aaron Hill Rumors
The Diamondbacks have had preliminary discussions about a contract extension for second baseman Aaron Hill, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic reports. CEO Derrick Hall says GM Kevin Towers hopes to begin more substantial talks with Hill’s representatives at Legacy Sports Group.
“We’re interested in trying to come to an agreement with Aaron before the season starts,” Hall said. “We know he wants to be here and we obviously feel the same way and would like for him to be here. So Kevin and his agent will begin to speak very soon.”
Piecoro suggests the sides have yet to discuss contract length or value. Hill will earn $5.5MM in 2013 under his current contract, which was signed months after the Diamondbacks traded for him in August of 2011.
Hill posted a .302/.360/.522 batting line with 26 home runs in 668 plate appearances last year, his first full season in Arizona. Among second basemen only Robinson Cano produced more wins above replacement than Hill in 2012, according to FanGraphs' version of the metric (7.8 for Cano, 6.2 for Hill). Hill rebounded from a 2011 season that saw him post a .246/.299/.356 line in 571 plate appearances for Toronto and Arizona.
It was on this day 11 years ago that baseball's first November game ended in heartbreaking fashion for the Diamondbacks, as they lost the fifth game of the 2001 World Series due to closer Byung-Hyun Kim blowing a ninth-inning lead for the second straight game. The loss to the Yankees put the D'Backs down 3-2 in the Series, but the Snakes recovered to win the last two games (with Luis Gonzalez providing some ninth-inning magic of his own in Game Seven) to capture the franchise's first World Series championship.
Here's the latest from the desert…
- Aaron Hill would love to discuss signing a long-term extension with the D'Backs, the second baseman tells MLB.com's Steve Gilbert. Hill has hit .304/.364/.517 in 810 PAs for Arizona since being dealt from the Blue Jays in August 2011 and signed a two-year, $11MM deal with the Snakes that runs through the end of the 2013 season.
- D'Backs president and CEO Derrick Hall addressed a number of topics in a chat with fans on MLB.com, including how the team is looking to add to the left side of its infield and will be "managing the abundance of players we have" in the outfield. The D'Backs have already made one major trade involving an outfielder, sending Chris Young to the A's and acquiring Cliff Pennington and Heath Bell. Hall also discussed the team's international scouting in Japan and the possibility of third base coach Matt Williams leaving to take a managerial job.
- The Rangers acquired catcher Konrad Schmidt on a waiver claim from the D'Backs, tweets Anthony Andro of FOX Sports Southwest. Schmidt, 28, appeared in four games for Arizona in 2010 and four more last season, amassing 17 total Major League plate appearances. The catcher has a .291/.345/.434 line in 2234 career minor league PAs.
TUESDAY, 6:46pm: The D'Backs announced the two-year contract today in a press release. MLB.com's Steve Gilbert tweets that Hill passed his physical, making the deal official.
SUNDAY, 8:30pm: The Diamondbacks may have declined Aaron Hill's option last month, but the second baseman will still be calling Chase Field his home. The two sides have agreed to terms on a new two-year contract that will pay Hill $11MM.
Hill, who will be 30 years old on Opening Day, came to the Diamondbacks along with John McDonald in an August trade that sent Kelly Johnson to the Blue Jays. He flourished in his new surroundings, hitting to the tune of a .315/.386/.492 triple slash line with a pair of round-trippers. In the field, UZR suggests that his defense has been a plus over the course of his career, with a UZR/150 of 4.2. His career 6.2% walk rate is below league average, but he also doesn't strike out very often (12.6% career).
Overall, Hill batted .246/.299/.356 in 2011 and hit just eight home runs after averaging 31 long balls from 2009-2010. He broke out with a monstrous season in 2009, hitting 36 homers and batting .286/.330/.499, but has been unable to recreate that level of success. He doesn't need to return to that form to justify the value of his new deal, but if he continues his Arizona renaissance, he'd be a massive bargain for the Snakes.
MLBTR's Tim Dierkes ranked Hill 38th on his list of Top 50 Free Agents. He was one of eight MLBTR writers who correctly predicted the Diamondbacks for Hill's destination in MLBTR's Free Agent prediction contest.
Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio first tweeted that the two sides would complete a deal within the next three days, while Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic tweeted that an agreement had been reached and SI.com's Jon Heyman tweeted the final details. Hill is represented by the Legacy Sports Group, as MLBTR's Agency Database shows.
The latest out of the NL West…
- Signing Tim Lincecum to a multiyear deal is at the top of the Giants' agenda, reports SI's Jon Heyman. The Giants are aiming for at least a four-year deal, which would buy out two years of free agency. Though Matt Cain is a year closer to free agency, Heyman says the focus is more on Lincecum. Heyman believes Lincecum's agents at Beverly Hills Sports Council could file as high as $25MM in arbitration this winter, in my opinion a risky move if the Giants come in around $20MM. For more on Lincecum's historic arbitration case, click here.
- The Rockies will not dabble financially in marginal players, explained GM Dan O'Dowd to Troy E. Renck of the Denver Post. They do have interest in Paul Maholm, Jeff Francis, and J.C. Romero, though, according to Renck, after bigger free agent targets such as Grady Sizemore and Roy Oswalt.
- The Dodgers will lower their payroll in 2012, tweets Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. Times. The team's opening day payroll was about $120MM in 2011. So far this offseason they've added $6.5MM in 2012 salaries for Mark Ellis and Juan Rivera. Here's my offseason outlook for the club.
- Unlike Ellis' deal, Aaron Hill's new contract with the Diamondbacks is not backloaded. He'll earn $5.5MM in each of the '12 and '13 seasons, tweets Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. Piecoro has an updated look at Arizona's payroll, and concludes that they'd need to non-tender Joe Saunders to be able to afford one of the better free agent pitchers on the market. MLBTR readers are split remarkably evenly as to whether Saunders will be tendered a contract on December 12th.
The Tigers had already locked up Brandon Inge, Jhonny Peralta, Joaquin Benoit and Victor Martinez by November 23rd of last year. Here’s the latest on the team as they start the current offseason more quietly…
- The Tigers seem to believe they can find help via trades, tweets Danny Knobler of CBSSports.com. The club has given up a lot in the past but they are willing to deal anyone but their top minor league prospects.
- Tigers GM Dave Dombrowski told John Lowe of the Detroit Free Press that the Tigers didn’t offer contracts to Mark Ellis, Jamey Carroll or Aaron Hill, three middle infielders who recently signed two-year deals. Should the Tigers pursue free agent middle infielders such as Clint Barmes or Kelly Johnson, they’d likely be looking at a two-year commitment given the deals we’ve seen so far and the number of teams with openings at second or short.
- The Tigers are considering Jose Molina, Matt Treanor, Ramon Castro and former Tiger Gerald Laird as possible backup catchers, according to Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports (on Twitter). All four backstops are free agents who could give Alex Avila an occasional breather while keeping Martinez’s knees fresh so he can contribute on offense.
The Diamondbacks should have a deal with Aaron Hill completed in the next 72 hours, tweets Jim Bowden of MLB Network Radio. SI.com's Jon Heyman adds (via Twitter) that the deal would be worth $5MM-$6MM.
This post was originally published on November 13, 2011.
The Diamondbacks have been one of baseball’s busiest teams so far this offseason. GM Kevin Towers and manager Kirk Gibson agreed to extensions and John McDonald, Henry Blanco and Willie Bloomquist have all re-signed with the defending NL West Champions. Here’s the latest from the division…
- If the Rockies are indeed interested in Padres second baseman Orlando Hudson, Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune doubts the Padres would be willing to pick up any of Hudson's salary in a trade. Hudson will earn $5.5MM in 2012, with an $8MM option for 2013 that can be bought out for $2MM. Center also discusses several other Padres topics in his weekly chat with fans, such as the possibility of moving in the fences at Petco Park.
- Billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong told Arash Markazi of ESPN Los Angeles that he has been approached by at least one of the groups trying to buy the Dodgers. Soon-Shiong is considered to be the richest man in Los Angeles and bought a 4.5% share of the L.A. Lakers last year.
- The Rockies aren't going to revisit their pursuit of Michael Young, tweets Troy Renck of the Denver Post. Colorado and Texas were very close to a deal involving Young last winter in the wake of Young's trade request, but Young settled things with Rangers management and now there is "no motivation for [the] Rangers to move him."
- Also from Renck, he doesn't think the Rockies will look to move Matt Belisle this winter, though Matt Lindstrom could be available.
- As part of a reader mailbag, MLB.com's Chris Haft was surprised that the Giants needed to include Ryan Verdugo along with Jonathan Sanchez in the deal that brought Melky Cabrera to San Francisco. That said, Haft writes "it's conceivable that the Giants might have obtained the most that Sanchez and Verdugo would bring."
- The Rockies “love” Jamey Carroll, but wouldn’t be interested in signing him to a multiyear deal, according to Renck (Twitter links). The former Rockies infielder is nearing a multiyear deal with Twins.
- The Rockies aren’t likely to sign Michael Cuddyer, but they continue pursuing Martin Prado, Renck reports.
- The Diamondbacks have a multiyear offer on the table to Aaron Hill and it expires Monday, according to Jack Magruder of FOXSportsArizona.com (on Twitter). If Hill signs, the Diamondbacks will turn their attention to starting pitching.
- Bruce Jenkins of the San Francisco Chronicle suggests the Giants should re-sign Carlos Beltran to a two or three-year deal.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk also contributed to this post
On this day in 1988, Los Angeles right-hander Orel Hershiser won the NL Cy Young Award by a unanimous vote after going 23-8 with a 2.31 ERA. Here are a few items of note regarding the Dodgers …
- Tom Golisano, the former owner of the NHL's Buffalo Sabres, is preparing a bid to purchase the Dodgers, according to Craig Karmin and Matthew Futterman of the Wall Street Journal. Golisano is "one of the first to declare an interest in buying the franchise who actually has the money to pull off the transaction," according to the report.
- Outgoing owner Frank McCourt hasn't told GM Ned Colletti not to spend on free agents — even ones of Prince Fielder's caliber — this offseason, a source tells Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.
- The Dodgers are "aggressively pursuing" infielders and are also interested in acquiring a catcher and starting pitchers, Major League sources tell Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com. Los Angeles is targeting Clint Barmes, Aaron Hill and Mark Ellis to play second base and/or a utility position.
- Juan Rivera's new contract with the Dodgers could be worth as much as $9MM over the next two seasons, according to Hernandez. The outfielder is guaranteed $4MM in 2012, with a $4MM option or $500K buyout for 2013, and he can earn as much as $500K in each of the next two seasons depending on his number of at-bats.
The Diamondbacks have already signed two infielders, but they remain interested in free agent second baseman Aaron Hill, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. The presence of utility players John McDonald and Willie Bloomquist won’t prevent GM Kevin Towers from adding Hill and adjusting the roster accordingly.
If Arizona re-signs Hill and Stephen Drew’s fractured ankle heals by Opening Day, Bloomquist could become the team’s fourth outfielder. If Hill signs elsewhere, Ryan Roberts would likely play second and the Diamondbacks would pursue a third baseman, according to Rosenthal.
The Diamondbacks may pursue starting pitching and Hiroki Kuroda is a likely target, according to Rosenthal. It’s hard to get a read on Kuroda’s 2012 plans, but he has drawn interest from Japanese teams and MLB teams. For more on the Diamondbacks, check out Tim Dierkes’ offseason outlook.
Millwood, 37 in December, finished the season with Colorado, making nine starts with a 3.98 ERA. The Scott Boras client seeks a Major League deal, which Renck says makes this a "slow-developing situation." Renck notes that the Rockies were among the finalists to sign Harden last year, though they viewed him as a reliever.
As for their second base opening, the Rockies have had internal conversations about free agent Aaron Hill, according to ESPN's Buster Olney. Hill is also of interest to the Tigers, writes Lynn Henning of the Detroit News. The Rockies also have interest in Jamey Carroll, Mark Ellis, and others, reported Renck previously.
For more on the Rockies' needs and finances, check out my offseason outlook.