Aaron Hill and the 2017 San Francisco Giants
Exactly a week ago, the San Francisco Giants agreed to a minor league deal with free agent third baseman, Aaron Hill. It came as quite a surprise to many simply because the Giants didn't seem like they were looking for additional depth at third base and going into this offseason, many didn't expect someone like Aaron Hill to receive a minor league deal. However, with the way the market has performed this winter, it really wasn't all that shocking given the lack of third baseman jobs around the league.
Heading into the 2017 season, Hill will compete for a spot on San Francisco's 25-man roster either as the team's primary third baseman or as an additional bench bat. Not only does Hill provide San Francisco veteran leadership, he also has the ability to play over at second base like he did in earlier portions of his career with the Toronto Blue Jays and Arizona Diamondbacks.
As of right now, Eduardo Nunez, will be the primary third baseman for the Giants during the 2017 season. Nunez can also play second base as well as shortstop which provides the Giants with another nice utility player.
After Nunez, the other two options the Giants currently have at third base are: Connor Gillaspie and Kelby Tomlinson. Both Gillaspie and Tomlinson have always been part time players during their career with Tomlinson appearing in 52 games last season with San Francisco and Gillaspie starting in 101 games.
Although Aaron Hill does provide the Giants with another option at third base along with veteran leadership, one of the biggest drawbacks is that he is also a part time player. The last time he played in 150 or more games was in 2012 with Arizona when he started in 156 games. Since then, Hill has never appeared in more than 135 games.
In addition, another drawback from the Aaron Hill signing is in correlation to his bat skills and the numbers he has put up over more recent seasons. The last time Hill hit over 300 was in 2012 when he finished the year: .302/.360/.522 with 184 hits, 26 home runs, 85 RBI, and 86 strikeouts. Since 2012, Hill has never hit more than 12 home runs in a single season, recorded 60 or more RBI, and has struck out a lot more frequently.
Granted, Aaron Hill is aging as he will turn 35 next month, but it still comes as a concern. Regardless, Hill can provide the Giants with veteran leadership, the ability to help the team make the postseason like he did in 2012, with the Arizona Diamondbacks and last year with the Boston Red Sox leading both teams to the divisional series, and more depth at a position where the Giants have a bit of uncertainty.
Who knows, maybe this will be the move that helps Aaron Hill become his old self and he finishes the 2017 season hitting over 300 with 20 or more home runs.
Only time will tell.