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Aaron Hill: Red Sox add a bat

Among the trade rumors/conjecture that we documented on Thursday, was that Milwaukee Brewers’ Aaron Hill might be available. As it turned out, the rumor was a valid one. Hill was acquired by the Boston Red Sox Thursday for a pair of minor leaguers, Aaron Wilkerson and Wendell Rijo.

Though Boston has been looking for pitching help, they felt they needed a bat as well, especially with third baseman Travis Shaw hobbled by a foul ball that he took off of his foot on Wednesday. There’s already speculation that the two may platoon at third base when Shaw’s status changes from day-to-day.

In 78 games this season, Hill posted a .283/.359/.421 slash line with eight home runs and 29 RBI. The deal returns Hill to the American League and the AL Eastern division for the first time since he was a member of the Toronto Blue Jays from 2005-2011. He was dealt to Arizona in 2011, along with John McDonald, for infielder Kelly Johnson. He remained with the Diamondbacks until this past winter, when Arizona shipped him to Milwaukee as a part of a five-player deal that brought shortstop Jean Segura to the desert.

Hill’s best season came with the Blue Jays in 2009, when he made the All-Star team for the only time in his career. He belted 36 home runs, drove in 108 runs, and scored 103. He also led the AL in plate appearances and at-bats.

Throughout his career, Hill has predominately played second base and could occasionally give Dustin Pedroia a breather. However, Hill’s defense has degraded according to his Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) and Defensive Runs Saved (DRS) score. But then again, the Red Sox will be relying on him more for his bat than his glove.

Wilkerson went undrafted, but the Red Sox gave him a contract after seeing him pitch in the independent American Association. The 27-year old made 16 starts and one relief appearance this season for Double-A Portland and Triple-A Pawtucket. The right-hander’s record was 6-3, 2.14 with 102 strikeouts in 92.1 innings pitched, and he posted a 1.02 WHIP. He could possibly challenge Chase Anderson, (who was part of the Hill trade with Arizona), for a spot in the current Brewers rotation.

Rijo was signed as a free agent out of the Dominican Republic and is just 20-years old. He started the season as Portland’s second baseman. But after 51 games, he hit just .186 and produced a .529 OPS, and was demoted to Advanced ‘A’  Salem in the Carolina League. Prior to this season, Baseball America ranked Rijo as the Red Sox 15th best prospect.