The Aaron Hill era is over.
Aaron Hill has lost what once put him in a position to earn Vernon Wellsian dollars.
Like the extinct Russ Adams, his former infield partner, the errant Hill has come nowhere close to meeting expectations. Like Adams, he just isn’t good enough for this team. Unlike Adams, he will find a home with another major league club, but not for eight million dollars.
He remains a lingering piece of the failed Ricciardi plan, a relic of the Vernon Wells era. Wells and Hill were good friends and teammates for six years. Perhaps Wells planted the seed of ineptitude that seems to grow in the psyche of Hill. Could he be ruminating on the following:
I am going to hit into a double play.
I know I’m going to fly out again.
I can’t do it any more.
I don’t deserve this money.
I am not the all-star I used to be, and I never will be again.
It is shaky ground upon which analysts pass judgement on a player’s lack of performance by declaring: he lacks desire or confidence. But he does have a dazed look in his eyes, and a demeanour of resignation. Just what caused the change in Hill cannot be determined objectively.
Are we seeing the long-term effects of his concussion?
Did opposing pitchers figure out a permanent way to get him out?
And has Hill failed to make the requisite adjustments?
The fact is that Hill does not contribute enough. The numbers do not lie.
He strikes out too much. He does not walk enough, and he does not hit for average or homeruns. Without the benefit of all the RBI he used to hit, his OBP stands out all the more horrifically.
The Blue Jays Luddite predicts that Hill will be placed on waivers some time in August, and Bluebird Banter muses on the woes of Hill at the plate and considers possible replacements. One of whom might be our old friend Marco Scutaro, who has proven ability to get on base and play good defense. Dustin Parkes at Getting Blanked explains possible outcomes for Hill and the Blue Jays, depending on whether he finishes 2011 as a Type A or Type B free agent.
It has been an abominable dissension in the ranks for Hill, and a mystery for the Blue Jays.
Just what happened to the man since his all-star season of 2009, no one, Hill included, seems to know.
This Aaron Hill is a shadow of his former self, and it now appears likely that he will not be back, or should not be back in 2012.
On to the next, we’re over the Hill. Who will play second base?
TORONTO — The wayward Vernon Wells could not rescue a shaky Blue Jays pitching staff during a 6-5 loss to the visiting Florida Marlins Saturday before 20,634 baseball fans at Rogers Centre.
Coming off a year-long rehabilitation from a torn labrum in his right shoulder, Jay’s starter Casey Janssen struggled through 3 2-3 innings giving up five runs on eight hits.
Jeremy Hermida homered in the third, and Jays-killer Cody Ross followed up his grand slam Friday by nailing a Janssen breaking ball in the fourth to make it 5-0.
“I just think, first of all, it looked like he got his cutter up a lot today,” said Cito Gaston of Janssen. “He had a little trouble getting his breaking ball over and, the fastball counts, if he threw his breaking ball, it was down and it was a ball and he had to come back and throw his fastball.”
In his fifth start of the season, the 27-year-old former reliever fell to 2-3, ballooning his ERA to an unsightly 6.23. David Purcey, also 27, carried a 7.01 ERA through five starts in April before losing his job.
Marlins rookie-starter Sean West survived 5 2-3 innings, improving to 2-2 on the season.
An RBI double by Hanley Ramirez scored Chris Coghlan in the first, and a double-play ball hit by Coghlan in the sixth plated Cody Ross from third base and accounted for the Marlin’s last run.
With the Jays down 6-2 in the sixth, Lyle Overbay, named American League player of the week June 7, jolted a two-run shot to put Jays within two.
Marco Scutaro led off the seventh with a walk, advancing to second base on a walk to Aaron Hill. Vernon Wells gifted third baseman Wes Helms a light grounder which he launched into centre field, while trying to throw out Hill at second before Scutaro wheeled home to make the score 6-5.
Wells blew a golden opportunity when he struck out in the bottom of the ninth with Rod Barajas standing on second base, ending the game and a miserable 0-for-5 day at the plate.
Cursed by at least one baseball god, Wells finished the game on a 0-for-14 skid. Through June 13, he is batting .241 overall and .149 with runners in scoring position. Gaston moved him up to the number three spot Friday after 62 consecutive games batting clean-up.
One gets the feeling that the streaky Wells, a two-time all-star, is capable of captaining a sinking HMCS Blue Jay, or sailing it safely into October.
The loss gives the Jays an unseemly 0-5 record in interleague play and 4-16 lifetime record against Florida.
Alex Rios, 4-for-4 with a two-run dinger in the fourth, seems to have reversed his fortunes since Gaston moved him down from number three to six in the batting order. Rios stole second base in the eighth, but catcher John Baker threw him out when he tried to steal third.
“You’d like to see him safe, but we’re not swinging the bats that well,” said Gaston. “So, we’ve got to try to make something happen. He stole second base and gave us a chance to drive him in.”
In middle-relief, Sean Camp lasted three innings allowing one run. BJ Ryan lowered his mountainous ERA, from 6.91 to a slightly less ridiculous 6.46 in one scoreless inning of work. Jason Frasor (4-0), one of the few bright lights out of the bullpen, and closer Scott Downs held down the fort in the final two frames to give the Jays a chance.