Aaron Hill will be seeing time at third base this season. Credit: Brad Mills-USA TODAY Sports
With Chris Owings to return from the disabled list soon and rosters set to expand on September 1st, there will be a glut of people in the Arizona Diamondbacks’ infield. According to Jack Magruder at Fox Sports Arizona, one way the D’backs plan to remove this logjam is to have Owings play second base with Aaron Hill moving over to third. Hill last played the hot corner during his rookie season of 2005. For his part, the veteran is keeping an upbeat attitude about the potential shift:
"“It will be fun. Challenging. Something kind of different,” Hill said."
By moving Hill to third, the D’backs would theoretically be putting their best team on the field. However, I find it strange that Owings would be the one moving over to second. Didi Gregorius spent a great deal of time playing the position at Triple A Reno this year. One would think he would be the one shifting to second for at least the remainder of the season. Now the team will have two players, Hill and Owings, who are playing out of position. This is the type of thing you normally would find in Spring Training, not this late in the season. Then again, at 55-76, a little experimentation wouldn’t really hurt, would it?
This would mean the guy on the outside looking in would be an actual third baseman, Jake Lamb. He has struggled a bit since being called up at the beginning of the month with 17 strikeouts and a .224 batting average in 49 at-bats. However, he is coming off his best series going 4 for 9 with his first Major League home run. I am not sure how much sense it makes to essentially make Lamb the odd man out when the D’backs have nothing to play for during the month of September. He is the only one with a future at third base and it would be beneficial to get him as many plate appearances as possible between now and the end of the season.
It seems to be clear that someone will have to be dealt in the offseason. If the decision is to trade Hill, then I am not sure playing him in unfamiliar territory is a way to boost his trade value. The move also could also impede the progress of a young player in Lamb. Good luck to Kirk Gibson in sorting this mess out over the next six weeks.