2015 Diamondbacks Expectations: Second Base
By Joseph Jacquez
Oh Kevin Towers. As we get closer to the 2015 season, you would think that Paul Goldschmidt who has been one of the best first basemen in the MLB, and the Diamondbacks MVP, would be the teams highest paid player.
Instead he has a team friendly deal, and second basemen Aaron Hill is making $12 million. Trevor Cahill is also going to make $12 million this season. Both of them have one thing in common: declining performance.
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Hill is projected for a 1.2 WAR by FanGraphs Streamer. Baseball Prospectus PECOTA is more favorable towards him projecting him as a 2.4 win player. Hill plays excellent defense at second, and I would project him to be a 2 win player, but he is certainly not worth the money he is making this season.
Second base is not a strength for this team, and Hill is coming off a year of injury and underperformance. Keeping that in mind, I have to have realistic expectations for Hill in 2015.
If Hill can stay healthy, he can contribute positively to the Snakes lineup. He won’t be the player the was in 2012 when he hit .302 with 26 HR, 85 RBI, and an OPS+ of 133, but I can see him hitting 15 HR’s and driving in 70 with a respectable average in the .260-.270 range.
He signed a big contract with the Diamondbacks in 2012 after putting up a couple of monster seasons with the Toronto Blue Jays. As I talked about earlier, Hill produced in his first season with Arizona, but he has been a bust ever since. There is no other way to analyze it.
Thanks to Towers, Hill will also make $12 million in 2016, and won’t become a free agent till 2017. That means the Dbacks are stuck paying Hill $24 million! It’s going to make it hard for this team to sign top tier free agents next winter, and it’s unfortunate
General Manager Dave Stewart could choose to trade Hill at the deadline if he has a bad first half, or they could trade him in the offseason. If a team is interested in Hill, Arizona would still have to eat most of his remaining salary, which puts the Dbacks in a tough spot.
Hopefully he can return to form, and he can prove he is worth the investment. What I outlined above is probably the best-case scenario.
Cliff Pennington will probably get some starts at 2B. His greatest value comes on defense. Chris Owings could also see time at 2B, but expect Hill to be the everyday guy.