(AP) — Second baseman Aaron Hill has reached an agreement to re-sign with the Arizona Diamondbacks, according to two people familiar with the deal.
The two people spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Monday because the deal — $11 million over two seasons — had not been announced. Arizona acquired Hill and utility infielder John McDonald from Toronto for second baseman Kelly Johnson late last season.
After hitting just .225 with six home runs in Toronto, Hill batted .315 with two homers and 16 RBIs in 124 at-bats over the final 33 games to help the surprising Diamondbacks with the NL West title. McDonald already has re-signed with Arizona.
The Diamondbacks declined an $8 million option on Hill for 2012, but he expressed interest in reaching a new agreement with the club. He would get $5.5 million in each of the next two seasons.
The deal, which is pending completion of Hill's physical, would solidify the infield. Had the team not re-signed Hill, there was a good chance Ryan Roberts would have been shifted to second base and the team would have been in the market for a third baseman.
With McDonald and Willie Bloomquist also re-signed, the Diamondbacks have options if shortstop Stephen Drew is slow to come back from a broken ankle that sidelined him through much of last season.
Hill immediately took to the Arizona environment. Even though it was obvious the Diamondbacks were not going to exercise such a big option on his existing contract, he was extremely open to reaching a new agreement.
"They know I've had a blast. They've expressed interest in keeping me. It will work itself out," Hill said the day after Milwaukee eliminated Arizona in the NL division series. "Obviously, it wasn't the best year all-around, but I did find a little extra spark coming over here, and it felt like the old me again."
The 29-year-old infielder was a first-round pick — 13th overall — by Toronto out of LSU in 2003.
He played nearly six seasons for the Blue Jays. In 2009, Hill hit .286 with 36 home runs, 195 hits and 108 RBIs, leading to a new contract with the $8 million option that Arizona eventually declined. His batting average plummeted to .205 in 2010, although he did hit 26 home runs. Hill's numbers continued to dip this season, leading to the decision by Toronto to make the trade.