The One That Got Away
Sept. 11, 2012; Phoenix, AZ, USA: Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Aaron Hill against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Chase Field. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports At the beginning of the Toronto Blue Jays 2010 season the Blue Jays core was Vernon Wells, Adam Lind and Aaron Hill. Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion were just happy to get chances to start on a big league team.
Adam Lind is now a shadow of his former self and his annoying contract has him as the Jays 1st basemen for at least 2013.
The Blue Jays have since traded Vernon Wells and Aaron Hill. Even if Vernon Wells could get back to being a decent player, it’s hard for any Jays fan to miss him with the financial burden his contract would put on the team.
That brings us to Aaron Hill.
Aaron Hill had always been a good player that got better every season for the Blue Jays since his big league debut in 2005. In 2009 he really broke out with a career high 36 homeruns and a career high 4.1 WAR according to fangraphs.
Hill didn’t exactly follow up his 2009 “breakout” with an encore performance. He didn’t even hit as well as he did before 2009. He just completely lost it and put up 2 WAR in 2010 and 2011 combined.
The Blue Jays had to get rid of him. Hill’s trade value was very low when the Jays traded him in August of 2011. The Blue Jays getting Kelly Johnson for Hill and John McDonald seemed like a great trade because Johnson was having a better season than Hill. Then again so was every other starting player in the big leagues.
In 2012 Aaron Hill put up a 6.2 WAR for the Diamondbacks and recently earned himself a contract extension that will keep him in Arizona through the 2016 season.
As bitter as some Blue Jays fans might be about Hill’s resurrection last season, he was absolutely brutal in his last two seasons with the Jays so they had to get rid of him, even if meant selling very low on him.
It’s hard to decide what to make of Aaron Hill’s 2012. Most Blue Jays fans would like to believe it was just a random good season or that the NL West is that much easier than the AL East or that a change of scenery really makes a difference.
There’s a much better chance the Diamondbacks saw a fixable flaw that the Blue Jays missed and that Hill just figured out what he was doing wrong in his last 2 years with the Jays.
You can’t assume Aaron Hill’s back with one great season after two horrible ones. Here is to hoping Hill is back and his career is more like his 2009 and 2012 and not his 2010 and 2011. The Diamondbacks are betting Aaron Hill’s back. If they’re right it’s a shame he couldn’t have come back with the Blue Jays.