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The CNW has reported that Aaron Hill will be called up from AAA Syracuse to replace Corey Koskie who heads to the DL after breaking a finger in today's 4-0 loss to the Twins.

To make room for Hill on the 40 man roster the Jays have designated Eric Crozier for assignment.

Hill was the Jays first round pick from LSU in 2003. He has played SS exclusively for the Jays minor league teams, although many people believe he'll eventually shift over to 2B or 3B. Hill did play 10 games at 3B in the Arizona Fall League this past offseason so it's certainly a possibility that he'll get time at the hot corner in Koskie's absence.

Prior to this afternoon's game, in which he hit a homerun, Hill was batting .303/.337/.454 with 10 errors for the Chiefs.

Koskie Down, Hill Up | 39 comments | Create New Account
The following comments are owned by whomever posted them. This site is not responsible for what they say.
Mick Doherty - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 05:55 PM EDT (#117127) #
So the Koskie injury is an "uphill assignment" for the Jays, huh?
Stellers Jay - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 06:06 PM EDT (#117128) #
This move seems a little short sighted to me. I hope JP made it knowing that Crozier will clear waivers. As I'm writing this the thought popped in to my mind that they can DFA Crozier (which gives them 10 days), Zaun comes off of the DL Monday, and then they outright Butterbean and Crozier can go back on the 40 man roster, no harm no foul. Works for me.
Ducey - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 06:08 PM EDT (#117129) #
wow one busted digit and look what happens:

Hill moved up ahead of JFG.

We get to begin specutating a bit more on who will be the survivors of the middle infield competion between Hudson, Hill and Adams.

Crozier, who some in these parts (and I think even at BP) were saying 5 months ago should have been plugged in at DH or 1st, is left dangling. (There is going to be an even bigger shortage of power bats if he gets grabbed).

McDonald, who yesterday was velcroed to the bench by JP is now effectively stapled there as Hill will pick up extra SS at bats.

Mike D - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#117130) #
My apologies for posting a contest thread prematurely. It'll come back online tomorrow morning.
Dave501 - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 06:13 PM EDT (#117131) #
That's interesting, so when the Jays designate a player for assingemnt, they have 10 days before that player is subject to waiver? as opposed to when they outright a player, they go on wiavers immediately? is that how that works. If so, sounds good. If they do, however, end up loosing crozier (which is not likely anyway), no big deal. Dont get me wrong, i do hope they keep him.
Stellers Jay - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 06:19 PM EDT (#117132) #
Designating a player for assignment gives a team 10 days to trade, release, or outright a player. Crozier doesn't need to be placed immediately on waivers, for all I know he could be on waivers, but in my perfect scenerio there is no need for it.
mistermike - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#117133) #
Interesting. I would have assumed it would be Gabe Gross getting one final chance to prove himself.

I'm hoping they start Hill as the everyday DH for two weeks or so. Give him some time to adjust to major league hitters, then attempt to work him in at SS or 3B.
Dave501 - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 06:25 PM EDT (#117134) #
So, if in 10 days they dont trade or release Crozier, can they put him back on the 40 (assume the outright Dominique)and have him never subject to waivers?
Rob - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 06:31 PM EDT (#117135) #
It makes all the sense in the world for Hill to start at DH tomorrow; get his feet wet without throwing him out there on defense. Or, If McDonald starts against the lefty Vargas tomorrow (which he really shouldn't -- Russ Adams can hit Vargas, surely), Hill could pinch-hit.

I just don't like starting a rookie at a fielding position in his ML debut, especially when there is no obvious DH in the lineup. (Rios had to play the OF last year in his callup due to the injuries.) Too much to think about right away.

Hillenbrand, Hill and Adams now share three positions and Hill could, possibly, play all three of them. Definitely SS and DH. They sure have enough shortstops on the roster now...
Mike D - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 06:38 PM EDT (#117136) #
Rob, Vargas is actually a righty. In fairness, the Advance Scout hasn't come out yet. :)
Rob - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 06:45 PM EDT (#117137) #
He's a righty? Somebody tell The Baseball Cube. Should have checked B-Ref...and that Advance Scout better be saved as a .bmp! :)
Dave501 - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 07:32 PM EDT (#117138) #
Predicting tomorrow night's lineup:
1. Rios RF
2. Cat DH
3. Hillenbrand 3B
4. Hinske 1B
5. Wells CF
6. Hudson 2b
7. Johnson LF
8. Adams SS
9. Huckaby C

And Hill doesn't start until Saturday.
Jordan - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 07:59 PM EDT (#117140) #
At 12:45 this afternoon, I wrote, of Hill:

I think we'll see him in Toronto by September, earlier if there's an injury.

Note to Corey Koskie: this is not my fault.

Griffin would have made a lot of sense to promote, so let's think about what the promotion of Hill reveals about the Jays' thinking.

One, the team doesn't expect Koskie back any time soon -- maybe not till August (this will make it five consecutive seasons that Koskie's GP total has dropped: 153-140-131-118-???). Hill's here to stay.

Two, they think that Hill's ready for his close-up right now, Mr. DeMille. They're going to play him virtually every day and see what he's got. They're going to let Brian Butterfield train him and assess his defensive upside.

Three, and I haven't seen any announcement in this regard, but I can't believe Hill is up here primarily to DH. This is his audition, and the Jays need to see everything he's got, especially his glove; if he only DH'es, his evolution as a complete ballplayer will stagnate. If they wanted a straight DH, Griffin was there for the asking.

So that begs the question: where will Hill play? JP just finished saying they were taking the kid gloves off Russ Adams and letting him play shortstop every day. Despite my belief that Hill is eventually bound for second, they're obviously not going to put him there. That leaves only third base, replacing Koskie directly -- which would be strange indeed, because Hill hasn't played there since the Arizona Fall League, and Shea Hillenbrand would fully expect that he'd be first in line to take over at the hot corner.

Now, I've been thinking all along that Hillenbrand would be in Toronto only until the Jays could work him into a trade for a slugger sometime this season, or failing that, flip him to a contender that needs a solid righty stick in return for another John Hattig or Adam Peterson. But now the Jays are down an infield bat (and cleanup hitter), and their best hitting prospect is in The Show ahead of schedule.

At this point, the only scenario that makes any sense to me is that Hill and Hillenbrand will effectively split time at 3B and DH, with Hill getting more and more playing time there as he adjusts to the big leagues and benefits from Butterfield's instructions. By the time Koskie gets back, either Hillenbrand will be gone or they'll just rotate bodies as best they can.

In the off-season, though, the Jays will have Corey Koskie, Aaron Hill, Russ Adams, Orlando Hudson and Eric Hinske available to fill four infield positions. Someone's not going to survive this Musical Chairs, and at this point, I honestly have no idea who'll be the odd man out. It really could be any of them.

So, who won the Eric Crozier-Josh Phelps trade? Right now, it looks like Tampa Bay did, though the prize is far from stellar. Crozier regressed badly from last September and clearly doesn't figure in the team's plans, even as a reserve. A disappointing deal in every respect.

Rob - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 08:14 PM EDT (#117141) #
They're going to let Brian Butterfield train him and assess his defensive upside.

From the Aaron Hill interview, Hill on Butterfield: Absolutely love him. He's one of the best guys I've ever met...You can really understand him - he's easy to listen to. Some guys can tell you what you're doing wrong and it's kind of hard to listen, but he's a wonderful coach and a great guy.

Sounds good.

So, who won the Eric Crozier-Josh Phelps trade? Right now, it looks like Tampa Bay did

That's a neat trick -- winning a trade in which you don't take part. I understand your point anyway. Toronto doesn't have anything to show for it, Cleveland certainly has nothing and the D-Rays are the only ones who currently have one of those players on their 40-man roster.

As I said before, I would have called Griffin up, but I am very excited to see Aaron Hill. He's one of my favourite players from last year's Fisher Cats that I haven't seen yet -- Hattig and Rosario still to come -- and he's crucial to the Blue Jays' future.

Does this say anything about the Jays' thoughts re: Hillenbrand's defense at third? His D at 3B is below average, right? Perhaps they don't like having him there every day for a few months and Hill was the best option. Now that I think about it, that's not a good reason. If all they wanted was a stopgap 3B, Jason Alfaro could fill in.

Elijah - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 08:16 PM EDT (#117142) #
The Jays got Crozier from Cleveland. And the Indians non-tendered him this past offseason. So no winners there. Though Josh is at least sniffing at bats in Tampa though Damon Hollins has been taking them away little by little.
Nick - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 08:19 PM EDT (#117143) #
Most everything has been said already but let me add a few things:

1. Losing Eric Crozier is definitely nothing to lose sleep over. He has been terrible so far this year after looking even worse in his callup last year. He is never going to be an everyday player in the majors, especialy considering his age. So to sum up - oh well.

2. Jordan, out of the 5 competing for an everyday spot in the infield, I think Koskie is pretty safe, his injury notwithstanding. I can, however, see any number of scenarios in which one (or more) of the other 4 is traded from the organization before Opening Day 2006.

3. Funny that Tampa Bay "won" the Phelps-Crozier trade even though they were not a participant in the trade. That's baseball. But even so, Tampa's "prize" is nothing great either. Neither Toronto nor Cleveland benefited from the deal. Maybe disappointing, but certainly not a disaster. I don't think either club held out much hope for any kind of significant return on that deal. It was an attempt to catch lightening in a bottle for both clubs and they both missed. Josh's fall from grace from BP cover boy to mediocre DH for the worst team in baseball - that is much closer to a disaster.
Elijah - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 08:25 PM EDT (#117144) #
I don't mind seeing Hill up with the big club so long as he plays every day. There's no point in platooning him with Adams or anything like that. Yes, he probably will spell Adams at short every once in a while but I expect to spend the majority of time at 3rd.

Last year around this time, I was excited when Alex Rios got promoted though we weren't sure how ready he was. I don't expect Hill to go back down unless he completely falls apart and the Jays are going to have to let growing pains kick in.

If Hill stays, Hillenbrand would probably be the one to go. I think there will be a market for Hillenbrand so long as he hits above .300 and even so, a lot of people in baseball think he's a good hitter (he certainly is a good hitter but still possibly a bit overvalued). I'm really not sure that there will be that much demand for him. The Jays may end up with a Hattig-like player in exchange but it probably won't be a great prospect.

But I could see the following teams vying for Shea in a month or so: White Sox (Joe Crede not exactly getting it done), Astros (for 1B if Bagwell is out for the year), or Dodgers (to platoon with Valentin or win the job outright at 3rd if Perez doesn't do the job).

I have to say, competing in 2006 looks like a bit of a long shot right now but maybe in 2007, who knows.
Cristian - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 08:32 PM EDT (#117145) #
Speculative trade

*note* this is not a rumour. I haven't heard anyone mention this nor do I think it's likely

I was reading an article on the Rockies earlier this week and it mentioned that the Rockies should focus on good young hitting speedy outfielders who can cover the wide expanses at Coors Field. Ideally, the young hitter would be able to grow into a park-neutral star rather than a Dante Bichette mirage. The article also mentioned that instead of trying to draft a starting rotation, the Rockies should focus on cheap veteran starters. Ideally about 7 of them so that each starter would only be expected to go 4-5 innings at home. This would also save the inevitable heartbreak of young pitchers flaiming out at altitude. Let's call this 'How to win at altitude - Plan #48'

This got me thinking. Would a Rios-Francis deal work? I love Rios' upside but wouldn't a blue-chip Canadian starter look good in a Jays uniform? As a Jays fan I'd do it in a second so it leads me believe that the Rockies would want more than Rios.

Straw poll: How many here would do a Rios for Francis swap (knowing that a straw poll only ever tells which way the hot air is blowing).
Jordan - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 08:43 PM EDT (#117147) #
The Jays got Crozier from Cleveland.

Yes, just for the record, I did know that. My too-clever-by-half point was that neither Toronto nor Cleveland benefitted.

Rios for Francis? In a split-second. The Rox would never do it, though, unless the Jays also threw in, say, Brandon League and Gus Chacin, and also took on one of their deadweight contracts. Someone suggested Preston Wilson earlier, whom I have no real interest in, but who might help make the deal remotely palatable from Colorado's perspective. Francis is a franchise ace.

Pistol - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 08:44 PM EDT (#117148) #
Crozier is only gone from the Jays if someone picks him up. At this point I think that's unlikely.

What surprises me is how quickly the move was made calling up Hill. The team had clearly given this some thought prior to today.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 08:50 PM EDT (#117150) #
I wouldn't do a Rios for Francis trade for the simple reason that it trades from a position of weakness (outfielder) to one of strength (starting pitcher) in the organization.

Now, back to the topic at hand. I am delighted that Aaron Hill has been called up. It seems to me that the organization has formed the opinion that the club will be in a position to win at some point in 2005, 2006 or 2007. Hill is major league ready, and service time issues take a back seat to the timing of a pennant drive, and in particular getting Hill acclimated to the majors so that he can make a significant contribution during these years.

The same argument applies to Gabe Gross, of course. A couple of good weeks, and his case will merit similar review.
Jordan - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 09:01 PM EDT (#117151) # trades from a position of weakness (outfielder) to one of strength (starting pitcher) in the organization.

Mike, normally I'd agree, and the Jays are suddenly awash in left-handed starters in the majors and minors. But Francis is an extremely rare talent, and he's ready to be a #2 starter behind Doc today and an ace shortly down the road. Moreover, I think it's easier and safer to sign a big-name outfielder in the off-season than a big-name starter. But it's all moot, since this is a trade that's squarely in the realm of fantasy on both sides.

kpataky - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 09:17 PM EDT (#117154) #
Greg Zaun will be rehabbing with the New Hampshire Fishers Cats for their 3 game series vs. Reading this weekend.
Mike Green - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 09:25 PM EDT (#117155) #
Without Rios, the Jays might need to sign 2 outfielders in the free-agent market. That's a very uncomfortable position to be in. But, as Jordan says, this deal is purely fantasy. If I were going to fantasize about acquiring a Canadian, it would be Morneau...

Named For Hank - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 09:48 PM EDT (#117156) #
What surprises me is how quickly the move was made calling up Hill. The team had clearly given this some thought prior to today.

Back when we were having the Hillenbrand-stole-Gross'-playing-time argument, I said that the acquisition of Hillenbrand was a clear sign that the Jays expected Koskie to need time off and/or get hurt at some point. I'd say that this is further proof that they've thought long and hard about what to do with an injured Koskie.

I completely love that this team thinks that far ahead. I mean, they're not just sitting there with their fingers crossed saying "Oh, I hope this year will be the year he plays 162 games!" He was a definite injury risk, but the way they've played it has been really smart. I suppose last year's parade of pain may have had some influence, too.

Ron - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 10:23 PM EDT (#117159) #
Does anybody have the details on Koskie's contract?

I believe he has a vested option in 2008 based on PA's.

The Jays can pick it up for 6.5 mil or it will automatically kick on a set amount of PA's.
Braby21 - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 11:30 PM EDT (#117160) #
NFH I think you give the Jays too much credit. If they were smart enough to sign Shea to fill in full-time when Koskie gets hurt, why sign Koskie? If you know he's going to be injured for a chunk of the season, isn't he a waste of money? Especially locking him up for 2 more seasons after this when you already have a corner infielder locked up too long.

Also why sign Koskie if your plan is to bring Hill up this early? I'm assuming that Hill is up to play 3rd base, if he's not, disregard that point.
Named For Hank - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 11:49 PM EDT (#117162) #
If they were smart enough to sign Shea to fill in full-time when Koskie gets hurt, why sign Koskie? If you know he's going to be injured for a chunk of the season, isn't he a waste of money?

1) Marketing.
2) Hillenbrand is not a power hitter. Koskie is. But Hillenbrand is a good player who could spell Koskie to try to keep him fresh or replace him with a good level of production if and when the injury came. I'm a fan of Frank Menechino, but I don't want to see him as the Jays' starting third baseman for eight weeks.

The plan was not for Koskie to get injured, obviously. But that wasn't something they could really count on, was it?

Lefty - Thursday, May 19 2005 @ 11:50 PM EDT (#117163) #
Braby, you make a fair point. Perhaps like NfH I too suspected Koskie would only be able to show up for a maximum of a 100 plus games. However, this bad break is just a freak acciedent.

I'm not sure what to make of the Hill call-up. You have to figure he will not hit above .260, his OBP is unlikely to be over .3 and his slugging percentage is likely to be pretty low as well.

He hasn't shown much on defense and I am worried about his hustle.

With all of that said, watch him pull a Russ Adams and make an immediate impact.
Rob - Friday, May 20 2005 @ 12:00 AM EDT (#117165) #
I am worried about his hustle

You're worried about Aaron Hill's hustle? I thought he was a classic JP guy.

Lefty - Friday, May 20 2005 @ 12:09 AM EDT (#117166) #
I am worried about his hustle, granted I only seen him play one game live in Ottawa at the beginning of May. However, watching run out groundballs that was my observation and I wrote that up in this space.

I think it was Jordan who made the same observation the following night. Two independent observers on two different nights. Perhaps he had niggling injury but I swear if he actually ran out one of his grounders it would have be a tie at first, maybe force a bad throw, who knows.
timpinder - Friday, May 20 2005 @ 02:36 AM EDT (#117171) #
I'm just curious why you would think that Hill would hit below .260 with an OBP below .300? His minor league totals would indicate otherwise: .294 AVG / .378 OBP. He has always been a patient hitter too, 90BB compared to 91SO in his minor league career. His bat is definately ready, as is his arm. The only question has always been his range at SS.

Anyway, I've been waiting to see Hill for a while now and I don't think he'll be going back to AAA. I really like Hudson, but my prediction is that he is traded at the deadline as part of a package for an ace behind Halladay. The Jays need to trade for a top end pitcher because there's no way they're outspending the big teams for Burnett in the offseason, and it's easier to sign a free agent bat.

My prediction for 2006:
RF Rios
SS Hill
CF Wells
LF Brian Giles (Free agent signing)
3B Koskie
DH Griffon/Hattig
1B Hinske
2B Adams (Weak arm better suited to 2B)
C Quiroz
Bench notables: Johnson or Cat (whoever's not traded), Zaun, Griffin or Hattig

SP1 Halladay
SP2 Zito (trade)
SP3 Bush
SP4 Rosario
SP5 Banks/McGowan (whoever's ready first)

Pen: Chacin, Schoenoweis, Frasor, Chulk, Vermilya, Arnold(setup), Batista (closer-if he's not traded)
ScottTS - Friday, May 20 2005 @ 09:12 AM EDT (#117175) #
I really like Hudson, but my prediction is that he is traded at the deadline as part of a package for an ace behind Halladay.

Personally, as long as Roy Halladay the Groundball Machine is on this team, I'd rather have Hudson and his otherworldly defense at second base. At this point, though, Hudson is probably the most tradeable infielder the Jays have.

Jordan - Friday, May 20 2005 @ 09:30 AM EDT (#117178) #
I did see a couple of instances during Hill's game where he seemed to lose focus or shift into a lower gear. That said, I also wrote that he beat out a groundball safely on a definite hustle play a little later in the game. I had similar observations as Lefty at the time, but I wouldn't want to make too much of just one game. Nobody goes 100% all the time, and it wouldn't be fair to expect it. His coaches, who see him a lot more than we do, have been very positive.

I've read or heard in numerous sources how Hill has excellent leadership skills, and that one of the reasons JP liked him so much was that he was the kind of grinder and battler in whose image he wanted to shape the club. My observation of a couple of moments in one minor-league game isn't nearly enough to challenge that -- but I did feel obliged to report my observation, because it's always useful to have a little more data to work with.

For the record, I don't have any concerns about Hill's attitude or his ability to help his team. What he'll probably learn, as does everyone who makes it to the big leagues, is that the level of sustained focus and concentration necessary to succeed there is unprecedented, and that there is no second gear. I have no doubt he'll succeed.
uglyone - Friday, May 20 2005 @ 11:20 AM EDT (#117190) #
I'm just wondering why some people think calling up Hill is "rushing" him, when he and Griffin have both had the same amount of time in AAA, with similar performances, not to mention their similar performance the year prior at AA.

Not sure if I understand that.

Hill, as well, is a direct IF replacement for Koskie, and he's a needed right handed bat as well.

What's going to interest me most is to see what happens when Koskie comes back. I won't be surprised in the least to see the end of Menechino, with Hill backing up all three of Koskie, Adams, and Hudson with his RH bat.

This might have had some impact on the decision - Reed and Cat are playing well enough right now, and that's not an area of need for the team (unless we're talking about adding a BIG LF bat).....while the backup IF spots, not to mention another RH bench bat, are significant areas of need for the Jays this year - short term and long term.
Mike Green - Friday, May 20 2005 @ 11:29 AM EDT (#117193) #
Cat's hitting .271/.333/.383. It's early, and he can do much better, but that is not acceptable production from a platoon leftfielder who plays below average defence.
R Billie - Friday, May 20 2005 @ 02:16 PM EDT (#117214) #
I've actually been a little disappointed in Cat since he's been in Toronto. Before he came here he put up some years where his OBP was close to .400 but since coming here he's been a swing first, ask questions later guy. This year he seems more susceptable to striking out on offspeed pitches and hasn't been delivering much in the way of average, OBP, or power against righties versus whom he normally excels.

That said, I don't think Gross is ready to come up and do any better. From what I saw of his video against the Mudhens he is out of whack either mentally or physically. He was cleanly missing fastballs over the plate and I don't remember him hitting the ball hard once, even on foul offs.

So they had to decide on whether they wanted Hillenbrand playing third every day or whether Hill deserved a long look. I think with the way he's hit in general (outside of taking fewer walks than expected) they've decided he's earned a trial run.

And with his righthanded bat he might still stick around to give the Jays some options against lefties when Cory comes back. The Jays lineup isn't strong anyway but it's especially weak when you ask Hinske, Koskie, and Hudson to face a competent lefthanded pitcher.

With Hill around you could platoon with Koskie and Hudson and even Adams as necessary. You could still get him into games against righties by rotating between 2B, SS, and 3B. He could play about as often as Reed Johnson (maybe 3 out of 4 games) and that wouldn't be too bad for a guy in his rookie season.
Lefty - Friday, May 20 2005 @ 04:02 PM EDT (#117255) #
Sorry for the late response to your question Timpinder, living out west I'm not up as early as most here.

I'm just trying to keep my expectations in check. Hill is going to face a huge adjustment to major league pitching. My highest expectation is he might hit .270 but he very well could end up hitting .230 as well. This is a big jump.

I didn't say his OBP would be below .3, But believe he will hover around that mark. In 156 AB's this season he has taken only 4 base on balls.

Keith Talent - Saturday, May 21 2005 @ 01:01 AM EDT (#117295) #
I don't see how you consider trading Orlando Hudson to make room for Aaron Hill. Hudson is going to be a perenniel all-star, a franchise player; Hill, from what little I know, looks like a potential above-average infielder.
Koskie Down, Hill Up | 39 comments | Create New Account
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