In a trade that just might be the beginning of their work as we approach the deadline, the Boston Red Sox acquired Aaron Hill from the Milwaukee Brewers, sending two minor league players in return.
Hill, 34, played only 78 games for the Brewers after his arrival from the Arizona Diamondbacks in a trade this past offseason. He’s been playing rather well with Milwaukee in something of a comeback season for him, hitting 8 home runs, batting .283 (his best since 2013) with a .780 OPS. A second baseman for most of his career, he’s mostly been used in third base by the Brewers. He’ll be a big boost to the struggling Red Sox infield, and creates something of a platoon with Travis Shaw at third base. Shaw has been especially bad against left handed pitching this season, batting only .211/.240/.380 against them.
There’s not too much financial risk in adding Hill. His overall salary for this season, before he hits free agency, is $12 million. The Diamondbacks are paying $6.5 million out of that, and the Brewers will pay a portion of his remaining salary as well. With Hill joining, the Red Sox designated outfielder Ryan LaMarre for assignment. They’ll try to find a trade partner for him, or pass him through outright waivers in an attempt to keep him in the organization as a non-40-man player.
The two minor leaguers going to Milwaukee are Wendell Rijo and Aaron Wilkerson. Rijo is a second baseman, Wilkerson a right handed pitcher. Rijo started the season in Class-A advanced, but was moved up rather quickly to Double A, where he’s struggling, batting just .186/.245/.266 in 51 games. Right now, according to prospect scouting, he’s noted for his power, but isn’t good enough to be more than a bench player or fringe lineup player. Wilkerson has been doing pretty well in triple A and double A for the Red Sox, with a 2.14 ERA, 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings, only 2.4 walks per nine innings, and a 40.3% ground ball ratio.
The Red Sox, coming off two years without making the playoffs, are 46-38 so far this season, third in the AL East, trailing the Baltimore Orioles and Toronto Blue Jays.