Sometime in the next few months, Alex Anthopoulos has to make some sort of decision on what to do with Aaron Hill.
Aaron, as you all know, has been, oh how to put it, a wee bit frustrating this year. At the moment he is hitting .230/.274/.319, which is actually worse than he hit last year. Who'd have thought it could get worse? His career, up until last year, had that nice progression that you like to see from young players, minus the elbow in the head from Dave Eckstein.
His OPS by year, skipping the injury year, went .727, .735, .792, .829. It looks like one of those guess the next number questions I loved so much, back in my school days. The answer I wouldn't have come up with is .665, for last year, and .593 for this year.
What happened to him? I don't know. I thought, last year, that he got to June with a batting average on the wrong side of the .200 mark and figured there was no way he could salvage that by the end of the season, so he started just swinging for the fences, figuring he could still finish with a decent number of home runs.
Maybe the pull philosophy, that Cito and Dwayne Murphy seem to favor, doesn't agree with Hill. I think there is a fine line between wanting to pull a pitch, when it is over the right part of the plate and trying to pull a ball when it isn't. Hill seems to get a steady diet of pitches on the outside and he seems to pull off them. If you are willing to do that, you won't see a lot of pitches that are easier to pull.
Anyway, Alex has some choices to make. Aaron has 2 club options left on his contract, $8 million a year for the next two years. Alex can choose to exercise one or both of them after the season, but, unless something changes in a hurry, I can't see him picking up either.
That leaves a few choices. They could try to trade him now. Not exactly easy to do, the market for second basemen that hit .230 with little power is pretty slim. I mean he could try to trade Hill, but we won't be getting much back. And since we don't have anyone waiting in the wings for his spot, he'd almost have to get another 2B back.
Or they could let him leave, as a free agent, after the season. At the moment, Hill would be a B type free agent. I'm not sure if he'll be able to hold on to that level, but if he does, I'd expect the draft pick would be worth more than what we could get in a trade.
Or they could decline the options and try to resign him to a much lower dollar figure.
The trouble with letting him leave is that we don't have a second baseman that is ready to come in and take his job. I don't think many of us want to see Mike McCoy as our full time second baseman next year. Down at Vegas we have Manny Mayorson playing second. He is 28 now, a career minor leaguer, to this point, and is hitting .310/.372/.411, numbers that look ok until you remember he plays in Vegas.
No, there is no way the Jays are going to move Brett Lawrie back to second. He isn't good at the spot and the team will not be wanting to go back on the plan of using him at third. Zero chance that will happen.
Free agents? There isn't all that much out there this year. I guess Orlando Cabrera would make Richard Griffin happy. Odds are the Red Sox won't pick up Marco Scutaro's $6 million option, he might be a possibility. Joe inglett anyone? You can take a look at the list here.
The longer range plan might be to move Yunel Escobar over to second and bring up Adeiny Hechavarria. Adeiny's glove is ready, his bat? Well if he plays as good defensively as they say he will, maybe we can put up with the bat. Can he hit all that much worse than Aaron? I'm not sure how hard it would be to talk Yunel into the idea and I'm not sure the Jays would want to go into next season with that as the plan.
What I think will happen is that Alex will not take the options (I think that's a given) and try to resign Hill to a 1 year contract at $2 million or something. If the bat comes around, great, if not, at least his glove is good and he could be released at whatever point in time they feel that Hecharvarria is ready to join the team.
Let's have a poll.