Blue Jays Trade Target: Is Aaron Hill an Option?

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I came across an interesting piece regarding what the Blue Jays should do with Dioner Navarro. Actually, the piece was more about how Arizona should get Navarro from the Blue Jays and what it would take to get that deal done. The piece can be found at FanSided’s Arizona Diamondbacks site, Venom Strikes.com. The author, Chris Jackson goes through an area of need and comes up with an idea to send Aaron Hill back to Toronto.

Jackson does not have to work hard to convince the reader that Arizona needs a catcher. After trading Miguel Montero, they are very much in need behind the dish. Toronto has an extra offensive catcher who is coming off a good year. It would make sense for the two clubs to be dance partners. 

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  • Initially, my response it so go for it. If you’re like me, you’ll remember Hill’s All Star/ Silver Slugger year where he hit .286 with 36 HR, 108 RBI, 37 2B, while being worth 3.8 WAR. Or, if you followed him during his time in Arizona, you’ll recall his more recent Silver Slugger performance of 2012 where he hit .302 with 26 HR, 85 RBI, with 44 2B.

    Or, you might remember the 2010 year where Hill hit 26 HR with 68 RBI and barely finished above the Mendoza Line with a .205 average. That year, he slashed .205/.271/.394 and frustrated many. People were wondering what had happened to Aaron Hill. He followed it up with a .225 start to 2011 and was shipped out. Hill is coming off a 2014 season where he hit .244/.287/.367 with 10 HR and 60 RBI. He missed 29 games due to a dislocated finger. Oh, and for good measure, he also put up the highest K% (17%) of his career last year.

    Even with a couple down years in Arizona, Aaron Hill represents the potential offense that the likes of Ryan Goins and Maicer Izturis may not be able to provide.

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    But, defensively, Aaron Hill does not bring enough to convince me. His UZR/150 was -8.7 last season. Compare that to Goins’ value of 5.7. That’s a big difference. Now, Hill may not be a terrible defender at 2B, but he is coming into his age 33 season and we cannot expect him to all of a sudden vastly improve his defense. He’d be good enough, but that may not be good enough for the Blue Jays.

    They have accumulated an offense that will score runs. They really shouldn’t be worried about the contributions for the 2B spot. What they should, and are more concerned with is the defensive side of things. And, they can afford to carry a lighter bat to get it. Especially when you compare the cost to do so.

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    Aaron Hill is set to earn $12M in 2015 and the same in 2016. The Blue Jays are not in a financial position to take on $24M over the next 2 seasons. Even trading Navarro’s $5M, the remaining $19M is just too much. The production and lesser defense that Aaron Hill would bring are not worth the amount they’d spend. The Blue Jays would rather spend what little money they have on the bullpen.

    There are plenty of reasons I’d love to see Aaron Hill come back to Toronto. Nostalgia is one of them. His bat would be a welcome addition; certainly it would be an upgrade over Goins. However, his glove is an issue, though. But, more importantly, his contract is a deal breaker.

    Dioner Navarro is still on the table. If the Diamondbacks want to send a huge amount of money with Aaron Hill, or they want to discuss sending an impact reliever or two, then the Blue Jays would be more likely to listen.