Back near the corner of the Blue Jays lush clubhouse is where Aaron Hill used to sit, his locker not far from Vernon Wells.
Not that long ago, they weren't just the future or the players to build around, they represented the present. They were the talent, the leaders, the known commodities, the clubhouse voices of reason that every team needs. Solid people, solid players, and then just like that, they weren't Blue Jays anymore.
Wells was sent packing mostly because his contract was more than onerous and because Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos found someone willing to pay that ridiculous bill. Hill was sent packing to the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday, for not much really in Kelly Johnson, in a post-trade deadline waiver exchange of pending free agents, because no matter what was said in parting, the Jays have no interest in Hill as they continue to build piece by piece for their own playoff future.
And the truth on Hill: He played his way out of the future in Toronto.
He stopped hitting for average and for situations a year ago. He just stopped hitting this year, period. The baseball season is five months old: In April and May, he hit badly. In June, July and August, he hit worse.
Being a good guy, as admirable as that may be, only gets you so far. Eventually you have to do something on the field and for two straight seasons, Hill was the Seinfeld of ballplayers: He was about nothing.
"You guys haven't been too hard on me, which I appreciate," Hill said in his departing news conference. Polite to the end, but who would have expected anything different? The fans never understood what happened to Hill, and how could they. The coaches tried to come to grips with it, but never had a real tangible answer. Even Hill, himself, couldn't explain how he went from all-star to also-ran. This wasn't any kind of slump: This was a career spiralling downhill.
The curious downfall of Aaron Hill
Toronto Sun | Aug 24