Kelly Johnson/Aaron Hill Trade
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Kelly Johnson/Aaron Hill Trade

It was announced today that the Arizona Diamondbacks and the Toronto Blue Jays pulled off a three player waiver period trade. The Diamondbacks put a claim in for Aaron Hill and John McDonald. In exchange they sent Kelly Johnson to Toronto.

If you didn’t know where the Dbacks stood in the National League West standings, this would seem like a pretty good deal. The Jays are getting a veteran second baseman with some pop to help compete with the juggernaut that is the Yankees and the Red Sox. The Diamondbacks are shedding a player who was due for free agency at the end of the season, grabbing a couple of players to fill holes, and dropping a couple million off payroll. Sounds like a move designed to build toward the future doesn’t it?

But the future is now. The Diamondbacks are in first place and need every bit of help they can get to push toward the postseason. Generally I’m not one to question a move made by GM Kevin Towers, but this one is a head-scratcher.

Here are the 2011 numbers:

Kelly Johnson: .209/.287/.412, 18 HR, 13 SB, 44 BB, 0.2 WAR, 2 RAR

Aaron Hill: .225/.270/.313, 6 HR, 16 SB, 23 BB, -0.3 WAR, -3 RAR

John McDonald: .250/.285/.345, 2 HR, 2 SB, 8 BB, 0.9 WAR, 9 RAR

With Stephen Drew out for the season, I can see the Dbacks desire to plug the shortstop hole with a veteran. But they gave up a veteran second baseman with some power for a player in Aaron Hill who doesn’t even provide more benefit than a Triple-A replacement. As for McDonald, he is a free agent after this year and I’m not sure the Diamondbacks will be re-signing him.

Maybe Kevin Towers has a master plan behind this surprising move, but right now, it looks like the Diamondbacks forgot they were a team in contention. Right now this trade looks like a wash at best, but it certainly does not look like a move designed to make the team better as they head toward a possible date with the Philadelphia Phillies.