Blog Entry

Anthopoulous won't close door on Aaron Hill

Posted on: August 15, 2011 1:37 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2011 1:50 pm

By Evan Brunell

In the span of two seasons, the Blue Jays' Aaron Hill has plummeted from one of the best young second baseman in the game to one of the worst. Still, GM Alex Anthopoulous isn't ready to give up on Hill as the long-term second baseman, Blue Jays broadcaster Mike Wilner reports. Anthopoulous points to J.J. Hardy and Corey Hart as reasons not to give up, given each player's resurgence after experiencing a dip in effectiveness.

Problem is, neither Hardy nor Hart have fallen to the depths Hill has. Hardy has experienced a bounceback season with the Orioles, swatting 23 home runs and posting a .270/.314/.520 mark in what is lining up as a career season, although is production in 2007-08 came close before a two-year hiatus as an effective player. Hart's return to prominence, meanwhile, occurred last season after another two-year dip after a promising 2007. In both cases, Hill and Hart preceded their original breakout year with a couple seasons of futility.

That also happened to Hill, whose first two years in the majors were wanting, but acceptable for someone breaking into the bigs. He showed flashes of potential in 2007 before falling off in 2008 and rebounding in '09 with 36 home runs. Since then, though, he's fallen to depths even Hardy and Hart didn't reach, plummeting all the way to .226/.275/.312 this season with worsening plate discipline and power. Offensively, Hill has been 35 percent worse than league average by weighted runs-created plus, wRC+)  which sounds like a really imposing advance statistic, but isn't. Think of wRC+ as OPS, but done better, and scaled to league average. Thus, Hill's 65 wRC+ means he's 35 percent worse than league average. Among qualified batters, Hill is tied for being the fourth-worst hitter in the game by this metric. The White Sox's Alex Rios is in first by a wide margin, while Orlando Cabrera and Alex Gonzalez eke out Hill, tied with three others.

Hardy, meanwhile, has never fallen below 74 while Hart hasn't been below 93 with a significant major-league sample to draw from. Hardy has only been below the 100-point threshold -- exactly league average with the bat -- four times, and over it three times. Hart has been under twice and over it four times. Hill, meanwhile, has cracked the 100-point barrier just twice in a seven-year career. Hill's not necessarily cooked as a player, but he represents far longer odds than Hardy and Hart ever did to become "re-"reckoned with at the plate. Anthopoulous quoting Hardy and Hart as reasons to believe in Aaron Hill doesn't quite work -- if anything, it shows just how unlikely it is for Hill to rebound. He still has a good chance to return to being a league-average player, but anything above and beyond that at this point is just wishful thinking.

Hill has an $8 million club option for 2012 and 2013, as well as a $10 million option for 2014 that is already guaranteed not to be exercised. While Anthopoulous may not be ready to give up on Hill, it's hard to see Toronto paying $8 million in 2012 to one of the worst hitters in the game. To do so, Anthopoulous will have to really believe in the second baseman.

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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 21, 2011 5:22 am
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 18, 2011 11:59 pm
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Since: Dec 2, 2011
Posted on: December 8, 2011 12:47 pm

Anthopoulous won't close door on Aaron Hill

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Since: Jan 6, 2007
Posted on: August 15, 2011 2:23 pm

Anthopoulous won't close door on Aaron Hill

As a Jays fan, I want to see Aaron Hill succeed, and I want to see him be part of this promising up and coming Blue Jays team. I know it cant be justified right now based on performance, but if we could somehow sign Hill to a 1 year contract worth around $4 Million, Id be willing to take a stab at that, and maybe add an option for another year at the same price. Getting to know Aaron Hill as a person over his time in Toronto, not just as a player, I would rather have him on the team then not on the team. I know he wont be able to be an everyday infielder, but even if we convert him to OF or DH or as a Utility, I want to see him here. I do believe he has it in him to be an All-Star, he just has some monkey on his back, and if he figures it out Id like him to be on our team.

Maybe he does need a change of scenery but it would be nice to have Aaron Hill be the player he was headed towards being after that 36 homer season. Imagine having that 2B in our lineup, he would be top 5 in the league for sure and a big part of our success when it comes, and it will come. I guess im just willing to give Hill a bigger leash then most, but regardless the situation, $8 Million is a bit much for him, he has to prove himself.

Its a shame, if he kept improving or even leveled out on that 36 homer season, he would be a $100 Million player for sure....

Since: Sep 28, 2006
Posted on: August 15, 2011 2:04 pm

Anthopoulous won't close door on Aaron Hill

Why try to revive a crappy career (1 good year) when you can pay a lot less for the same production and devlop a young player to fill that role. If Hill can't figure it out why pay $8-$10 million when you've got a guy like Lawrie you can invest your time in?
Cut him loose and let him revive his career somewhere else. Spend less money, get as least as good production and let someone else take on the salvage operation.

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