Blue Jays Second Base 2012 Situation

As everyone knows, Aaron Hill's current contract ends at the end of the 2011 season. The Blue Jays could pick up the $8 million option per year for the next 2 years, but that is highly unlikely given Hill's 2011 production. The ex All-Star turns 30 next year, and seems like he still hasn't figured out what made him so successful in 2009.

The big question is what does AA think about Aron Hill and his future as a Blue Jay? If he thinks he can't trade for a better 2nd baseman during this winter, the most logical choice for the Blue Jays GM is to re-negotiate a new contract with Hill worth much less than the $8 million per year option.

The other part of the equation is the payroll that Rogers Communications will put forth for the 2012 season. If the Blue Jays intend to genuinely compete in 2012 then the payroll should reflect that. Currently, $38 million has already been committed for the 2012 payroll (Bautista, Romero, Lind, Teahen, Escobar, Davis, Rauch, Encarnacion). If we assume that the Jays will maintain the services of its youth core: Snider, Thames, Rasmus, Arencibia, Cecil, Morrow, Drabek, Lawrie, Litsch, and retain others like Villanueva, Encarnacion and others, we would have about the same payroll as now: approx $60-$65 million. I heard earlier in the season AA mention that at some point Rogers would be "comfortable" with a jump in payroll to as much as $120 million if the situation presented itself for the right players. If that becomes a reality and AA is given free reign this winter, I wouldn't be surprised if AA makes a splash this winter, and perhaps acquires a 2nd baseman of the future. The problem is that this would have to be a trade of some kind given the weak 2nd base market for 2012 and our weak farm system in that position. Here's a list of the potential 2012 second base FAs:

* - player whose current contract includes 2012 option

Second Basemen

Clint Barmes HOU
Willie Bloomquist ARI *
Orlando Cabrera CLE
Robinson Cano NYY *
Jamey Carroll LAD
Luis Castillo NYM
Alex Cora WAS
Craig Counsell MIL
Mark Ellis OAK
Jerry Hairston Jr. WAS
Aaron Hill TOR *
Omar Infante FLA
Joe Inglett HOU
Kelly Johnson ARI
Adam Kennedy SEA
Felipe Lopez TB
Jose Lopez FLA
Aaron Miles LAD
Brandon Phillips CIN *

Of course, we can scratch Cano out.

However, Brandon Phillips has a $12 million option at the end of this year, and for most teams this would be an obvious choice, but I'm not so sure it is for the Reds. Their 2011 payroll is $76.2 million and they're 9th of 16th in attendance at the Great American Ball Park, and with $45.6 million already committed for 2012, $12 million is a lot of money for their market. Also, Billy Hamilton (one of the best 2nd base prospects in the game) might not be too far behind. The contract talks have stalled with Phillips saying he wanted a "fair market value". Yes, he is 30, but he's far better than most at this position, and far better than Hill.

Another option I've read is to go for Reyes this winter, then move Yunel to 2nd base. Having played SS I can tell you that its a lot easier to move to 3rd than to 2nd as the spin on the ball is different on that side of the field. It's definitely something that would take time to adjust. It also would send the wrong message to Hech, so I don't' think this would work. 

Your thoughts?

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