If Aaron Hill‘s stock was ever high, it’s right now. Hill cashed in on his excellent 2012 season by landing a three-year, $35 million extension with the Diamondbacks that will keep him playing baseball in the desert through the conclusion of the 2016 season. Hill will remain on his old contract in 2013 before receiving a substantial raise to $11 million in 2014 and $12 million for his 2015 and 2016 campaigns. The Diamondbacks have shaken up their roster quite thoroughly since winning the NL West in 2011, so it has to be at least somewhat comforting to Arizona fans to have a key contributor locked up for a while.
Hill certainly hasn’t been the most consistent performer in the game, but he’s had his share of high points. The 30-year-old had nice seasons in 2007 and 2009 before taking a huge batting average dive in 2010 and losing track of his game altogether in 2011. Last season was a career-best for Hill, as he hit .302/.360/.522 with 26 homers, 14 steals, and his customary good defense at the keystone. The end result was a 6.2 WAR season per FanGraphs and a few down-ballot MVP votes.
It’s honestly very difficult to know what to expect from Hill going forward given his spotty track record. It’s highly unlikely that the second baseman repeats the batting average spike he enjoyed in 2012, but it’s even more unlikely he experiences another season in which he has trouble clearing the .200 mark. Hill has proven himself to be a very capable defensive second baseman with a legitimate power bat for the position, and playing in a hitter-friendly park like Chase Field will only help his cause over the next few seasons. The deal is very likely to be at least an even-money proposition for the club, and it works well for a player like Hill who could experience vast slumps at any given time.