Feb 8, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
Arizona GM Kevin Towers has mastered the art of buying high and selling low this winter.
In giving Aaron Hill a three-year, $35 million extension on Friday, Towers made another high-risk, low-upside move. Second basemen have a history of cratering earlier than most, and Hill is going to be 32-34 during the years his extension covers.
Of course, Hill was terrific last season, one of the NL’s 10 best players. However, he has a terribly inconsistent history on offense (Hill has a career OPS of .759, yet he hasn’t actually posted an OPS in the 700s since 2007), and his glovework has gone from outstanding in his mid-20s to above average now. He’ll almost certainly be a below average defender by the time his new deal ends in 2016.
The big problem here is that Hill is going to play this year at 31. His new deal doesn’t kick in until 2014. Contracts of this type for second basemen in their 30s are practically unheard of and for good reason.
According to Baseball-reference, Hill has accrued 21.4 WAR through age 30. Here’s a list of every other second baseman since 1900 to amass between 18 and 25 WAR through age 30 and what they did from ages 32-34, the years Hill’s extension covers.
Jimmy Williams – .195/.257/.235 in 374 AB – (0.7) WAR
Del Pratt – .313/.370/.437 in 1,702 AB – 10.2 WAR
Max Bishop – .271/.433/.368 in 1,053 AB – 8.5 WAR
Red Schoendienst – .293/.345/.403 in 1,688 AB – 9.7 WAR
Bobby Avila – .247/.334/.343 in 1,351 AB – 3.0 WAR
Ron Hunt – .285/.395/.320 in 827 AB – 3.7 WAR
Davey Johnson – .325/.411/.554 in 157 AB – 1.8 WAR
Dave Cash – .227/.287/.280 in 397 AB – (0.7) WAR
Steve Sax – .237/.287/.315 in 710 AB – (0.6) WAR
Bill Doran – .272/.372/.387 in 1,151 AB – 4.9 WAR
Robby Thompson – .217/.307/.340 in 692 AB – 1.7 WAR
Delino DeShields – .221/.329/.340 in 497 AB – 0.2 WAR
Ray Durham – .289/.360/.484 in 1,466 AB – 7.1 WAR
Luis Castillo – .270/.366/.315 in 1,031 AB – 0.9 WAR
Brian Roberts – .244/.308/.340 in 459 AB – 0.1 WAR
Orlando Hudson – .246/.318/.352 in 1,155 AB – 3.1 WAR
The old-timers don’t look so bad. Pratt, who played from 1912-24, sustained no drop-off due to age, and Schoendienst, a late-bloomer as a hitter, ended up in the Hall of Fame. However, of the 11 players here to play in the last 50 years (everyone after Hunt), only Durham maintained his previous level of production at ages 32-34. Most of the rest weren’t useful at all. That’s the tendency with second basemen: once they stop being quality regulars, their lack of versatility prevents them from contributing even as part-timers.
Taken altogether, the average player here produced 3.3 WAR from ages 32-34. The Diamondbacks are expecting much more than that from Hill after guaranteeing him $11.67 million per year. History suggests they’ll almost surely end up disappointed.
Jun 18, 2013, 11:22 PM EDT
Indians closer Chris Perez is scheduled to be activated from the disabled list this Friday. But there’s reason to wonder whether that will happen. Perez made a rehab appearance — his second — on Tuesday evening with the Double-A Akron Aeros and got absolutely shelled. Facing the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate from Trenton, New Jersey, the…
Jun 18, 2013, 10:37 PM EDT
The Zack Wheeler era began on a promising note. Making his major league debut on Tuesday evening as part of a doubleheader at Atlanta’s Turner Field, the 23-year-old right-hander tossed six scoreless innings, fanning seven Braves batters and allowing just four hits. Wheeler issued a total of five walks and looked a little bit shaky…
Jun 18, 2013, 9:13 PM EDT
As first reported by Alex Speier of WEEI.com, the Red Sox have placed starter Clay Buchholz on the 15-day disabled list because of a neck strain. The move was made retroactive to June 9, so the right-hander will be eligible for activation in a week. Buchholz tested his neck with a bullpen session on Tuesday…
Jun 18, 2013, 8:28 PM EDT
Donovan Tate, the third overall pick in the 2009 MLB Amateur Draft, was a no-show this spring at Padres camp due to what was described by club officials as a personal matter. Now more than four months later, that personal matter has apparently been resolved. Corey Brock of MLB.com reports that Tate finally arrived at…
Jun 18, 2013, 7:34 PM EDT
More injury issues here for the Toronto Blue Jays. According to MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, right-hander Brandon Morrow suffered a minor setback Monday during his rehab debut with High-A Dunedin and has been sent back to Toronto to have his ailing forearm examined by the Blue Jays’ team doctors. Morrow was placed on the 15-day disabled…
Jun 18, 2013, 6:41 PM EDT
Amanda Comak of the Washington Times reports that Denard Span is back in the Nationals’ starting lineup on Tuesday night against the Phillies after sitting out Monday due to a bruised right foot. Span has fouled two different balls off his foot this month but has managed to avoid a major injury. He is starting…
Jun 18, 2013, 5:35 PM EDT
As expected the Rockies announced that Roy Oswalt will be called up from the minors to start Thursday against the Nationals. Oswalt, who signed a minor-league deal with Colorado last month, posted a 2.16 ERA and 25/7 K/BB ratio in 33 innings spread over five starts at Double-A to convince the Rockies he was ready…
Jun 18, 2013, 4:32 PM EDT
So I’ve read over the lawsuit filed by San Jose against Major League Baseball. Initial reaction: it’s more full of crap than Bob Melvin’s office was on Sunday afternoon. The essence of the suit: Major League Baseball is a monopoly. It should be an unlawful monopoly. This would-be unlawful monopoly is preventing the Athletics from…
Jun 18, 2013, 4:16 PM EDT
The injury hits just keep on coming for the Yankees, who announced that Kevin Youkilis needs surgery to repair a herniated disc and will be out for 10-12 weeks. That puts Youkilis’ season in jeopardy, because 10 weeks would get him into September and any setbacks would leave him running out of time. Youkilis hit…
Jun 18, 2013, 3:45 PM EDT
Lonnie Chisenhall began the season as the Indians’ starting third baseman, got demoted to the minors after hitting just .213 with a .604 OPS in 26 games, and is now back in the majors after crushing Triple-A pitching for a month. Chisenhall hit .390 with six homers and a 1.132 OPS in 27 games at…
Jun 18, 2013, 3:10 PM EDT
UPDATE: Forget it. Jason Heyward just reached on an infield single. A weird looking one as Harvey fielded the ball between the mound and first and then flipped it to … no one. Scored an infield hit, which makes sense considering that errors are rarely called on bad decisions by fielders — in this case…
Jun 18, 2013, 2:49 PM EDT
General manager Brian Cashman hinted pretty strongly yesterday that Mark Teixeira was headed back to the disabled list and sure enough the Yankees are making the move, shutting down the first baseman again with more wrist problems. Teixeira managed to play just 15 games between DL stints, hitting .151 with a .609 OPS after missing…
Jun 18, 2013, 2:27 PM EDT
The City of San Jose has sued Major League Baseball in an effort to get the Oakland A’s to relocate to San Jose, to challenge the Giants claim to rights over the territory and to challenge Major League Baseball’s long-standing monopoly power. The lawsuit, a copy of which can be seen here, and which is analyzed…
Jun 18, 2013, 2:16 PM EDT
Jon Hamm is a big St. Louis Cardinals fan and Ryan Fagan of The Sporting News talked to the “Mad Men” star about a bunch of baseball topics, including: SN: Are you friends with any of the current Cardinals? HAMM: I know a couple of them. I wouldn’t say “friends” but I’m text pals with…
Original Biogenesis source: “the people running Major League Baseball are the biggest scumbags on Earth”
Jun 18, 2013, 2:00 PM EDT
This reads like a crime thriller. It’s the story of Porter Fischer, the Biogenesis employee who took Tony Bosch’s notes and records, turned them over to the Miami New Times and unleashed the biggest PEDs scandal since BALCO. He has allowed the Miami Times to tell his story. All kinds of unseemliness here. A large…
Jun 18, 2013, 1:48 PM EDT
Less than 48 hours ago manager Charlie Manuel was quoted as saying that Carlos Ruiz was “four or five days” away from rejoining the Phillies, but the catcher was just activated from the disabled list for tonight’s game. Ruiz returns after missing the past month with a hamstring injury and he’s played just 16 games…
Jun 18, 2013, 1:20 PM EDT
Alex Cobb is on the seven-day concussion disabled list after being hit on the head by a line drive Saturday and manager Joe Maddon told Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times that there’s no timetable yet for the right-hander’s return to the Rays: He’s feeling a little bit better, obviously not tremendously better. It’s…
Jun 18, 2013, 1:00 PM EDT
You may have heard this story before — it often gets mentioned as an aside in Vin Scully features — but Brian Costa of the Wall Street Journal writes today about the time back in 1964 when some New York ad men approached Scully and told him that, if he was interested, the Yankees broadcasting…
Jun 18, 2013, 12:34 PM EDT
That plus some musings on games starting at 11pm and ending at nearly 1:30 AM.
Jun 18, 2013, 11:51 AM EDT
Late last night a bus carrying the Twins’ rookie-ball team “was involved in a wrong-way interstate crash in Florida that killed the driver of the other car,” according to the Associated Press. According to police no one on the Elizabethton Twins’ team bus was injured, but the driver of a Honda that was “traveling south…
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