2/8/2013 8:14 P.M. ET
Staying put: Hill signs extension through 2016
By Steve Gilbert / MLB.com
PHOENIX -- Happy to be living in Arizona and playing for the D-backs, second baseman Aaron Hill saw no reason to test the free-agent market.
The D-backs, thrilled with his production since coming over in an August 2011 trade, were eager to lock Hill up.
That led to quick negotiations on a three-year, $35 million contract extension that was announced Friday. Hill was already set to earn $5.5 million this season and will make $11 million in 2014 and $12 million in both 2015 and 2016.
Hill, who signed a two-year, $11 million deal last offseason, had a slash line of .302/.360/.522 and won a National League Silver Slugger Award in 2012.
"To be able to watch what he was able to do over a full season last year was truly remarkable," D-backs general manager Kevin Towers said. "Not only offensively, but defensively. A guy you wanted up with the game on the line and came up with big defensive plays, big hits for us and was really I think one of the premier second basemen in the game."
The 30-year-old had struggled in Toronto in 2010 and the first four-plus months of the 2011 season before Towers sent second baseman Kelly Johnson to the Blue Jays on Aug. 23 for Hill and shortstop John McDonald.
The deal seemed to rejuvenate Hill, who went on to compile an .878 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage) for the D-backs as they won the National League West.
"I don't think we would have won the NL West without him," Towers said.
The D-backs were so impressed by Hill's performance they signed him to a two-year contract following the season.
After a banner 2012 season, Hill easily could have played out the final year of his deal in 2013 and then hoped for an even bigger payday as a free agent.
"Not for me," Hill said of that plan. "I know a lot of guys, obviously, that's a big part of today's game is testing the free market and it's very exciting. But for me I'm in a place that I'm in love with, my family is happy, I love the guys, so when it comes to something like that, when you're comfortable in a spot or location, I didn't think twice about it."
Hill purchased a home near the team's Spring Training facility last offseason and has formed close friendships with many of his teammates, so the idea of going somewhere else was not appealing.
Hill hit 36 homers for the Blue Jays in 2009, but saw his average drop the following year from .286 to .205. Why he's been so resurgent in Arizona is hard to say.
"I wish I had an answer for it," Hill said. "I don't know. I mean, things happen for a reason. I knew personally that there was nothing lost. I don't know. There's no answer for it. I always believed that I would pick myself back up. You hear it a lot in this game that a change of scenery can help a player, and just speaking personally that was the case in my case."
As part of his new deal, Hill is the latest D-backs player to sponsor a "Diamonds Back" Field, presented by APS.
The field, the 33rd the club has done since 2000, will be located in Parker, Ariz., and dedicated on March 25.
"I hope that when we go out there and break ground, it won't be the only time I go out there because it will be fun to go back," Hill said. "It's pretty special to have a field named after you."