The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of at least two teams (Los Angeles Dodgers being the known other) interested in signing Howie Kendrick to man second base. But in order to make it happen, they need to probably get rid of some undesirable contracts, like the one Aaron Hill has.
Hill turns 34 in March, and the Diamondbacks would love to find a taker to the final year on his deal worth $12 million, and even pay some of it. The problem? Hill just isn’t worth the money left on his contract, which would make it very difficult to actually shop him, make a deal and still not be accounted for a big chunk of his remaining salary.
Hill has two Silver Slugger awards, but his offense and defense have really slipped the last couple of seasons. In 249 games over the last two seasons, Hill has just 16 home runs while batting .238 (more than 5 percentage points less than his 2013 performances), getting on base just 29% of the time and his OPS slipping to .648. With his defense, both at second or third base, no longer being good enough to merit some attention and interest from others, it seems like something of a lost cause to hope that they somehow find a team to take him.
The Diamondbacks do have Chris Owings at second base or shortstop, but it wouldn’t be wise letting him loose. While he did disappoint offensively with a .227 batting average in his first full season in the league and his OPS being just .587, he’s a good defensive player, so it’s probably better to keep the 24-year old in some sort of utility role for now.
Kendrick had a good season with the Dodgers while he was healthy, hitting nine home runs in 117 games and batting a .295 with a .746 OPS, keeping his consistent offense coming on the other side of Los Angeles after nine years with the Angels. Right now, at least for the Diamondbacks, he seems a bit out of their price range, which might they’ll settle for another veteran at infield or specifically second base, only one that’s a lot cheaper. Kendrick made $9.5 million last season.