Aaron Hill ...
- is one of the most confusing players in baseball over the last decade. He's either great or awful, and never the twain shall meet. He is forever a home run or a strikeout, never a well-timed grounder to the right side with a runner on second
- in the middle of a very disappointing campaign, hitting .255/.290/.388, with eight home runs and declining defensive numbers
- striking out more, walking less, and hitting fewer extra-base hits
- owed $24 million over the next two years
These are all red flags piled upon red flags. Except here are the counterpoints:
Aaron Hill ...
- is not Dan Uggla
- will not cost Kyle Crick
- will probably not cost Andrew Susac, Clayton Blackburn, Christian Arroyo, or any of the other prospects in the top 10, mostly because of the reasons listed above
- has a different Social Security Number than Dan Uggla
- would probably come over with a briefcase filled with cash to help defer those next two seasons
- did not attend Memphis, which is where Dan Uggla matriculated
- has a modicum of power at a position where the Giants aren't getting any, and he will at least clear the Mendoza Line.
You would think those last points would be compelling. However, you'll notice something on on Aaron Hill's MLB Trade Rumors page: a complete absence of Giants-related rumors. In a market where several teams (Orioles, A's, Blue Jays) want a second baseman, and the Giants are increasingly desperate, we haven't heard much about the Giants and Hill. It seems like a rational fit, depending on how much cash the Diamondbacks will staple to him.
The lack of interest in Hill (just my speculation, remember) probably means the Giants are serious about their unwillingness to add payroll. It could mean that the Giants won't consider someone like Martin Prado (also owed $12 million over the next two years) or even Daniel Murphy (who will get something like $9 million in arbitration next year.)
It could also mean they and their scouts think that Hill is barely an upgrade on Uggla and not close to worth the money. Which is probably true! It could also mean that the Diamondbacks aren't willing to eat as much money as they should. They were the nutballs who extended Hill after his best season a year before they had to. Read what this wise man wrote!
But when the player is a free agent after the coming season … how's about waiting until, oh, June just to make sure? The Diamondbacks had that luxury. And the worst-case scenario was that Hill would hit just as well, and another team would outbid them on a long-term deal for a enigmatic 32-year-old second baseman. Which is one of of the best-case worst-case scenarios I've seen.
That article makes fun of the Dan Uggla contact, too, so we've come full circle.
Add the pros and cons up, and I'm comfortable with this thesis: I'm okay with Aaron Hill, at least as a role player, for $5 million a year. That's not an insignificant amount of money -- it could be the difference between Free Agent You Want and Free Agent You'll Begrudgingly Accept -- but it's a risk I'll accept to a) keep prospects and b) replace Uggla forthwith. The Diamondbacks, though, probably don't want to pay Hill $14 million to play for a divisional rival, not unless they can point to the quality of the prospects in return. Not giving up those prospects is the only reason a team should be interested in Hill in the first place.
There you go, then. That's the reason why you don't hear a lot about Hill and the Giants. Though the Luann jokes would never get old -- ever -- the situation isn't a fit, even if the player seems to be.