By Jim Callis
January 12, 2005
Another day, another deal for the Diamondbacks. After shipping Stephen Randolph to the Cubs on Monday, and moving Randy Johnson to the Yankees while acquiring Shawn Green from the Dodgers on Tuesday, Arizona traded Shea Hillenbrand to the Blue Jays for minor league righthander Adam Peterson on Wednesday.
Hillenbrand, 29, became expendable after the Diamondbacks took care of his two positions by signing Troy Glaus to play third base and trading for Green, moving Chad Tracy to first base. For Toronto, he’ll probably DH and be the primary backup to Eric Hinske at first base. Hillenbrand batted .310/.348/.464 with 15 homers and 80 RBIs in 148 games in 2004. He hits for average with line-drive power, making good contact but drawing few walks (24 last year). Hillenbrand is a below-average runner and third baseman, and he’s an adequate first baseman. He’s eligible for arbitration after making $2.6 million in 2004. In 577 big league games, he has hit .288/.322/.448 with 65 homers and 309 RBIs.
Peterson, 25, was a fourth-round pick out of Wichita State in 2002. Considered a sleeper to fill Toronto’s closer role in 2004, he appeared in just three games for the Blue Jays, posting a 16.88 ERA. He split the year between Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Syracuse, going 4-4, 6.93 with 15 saves in 46 games. In 49 innings, he had a 57-26 strikeout-walk ratio while allowing a .297 average and seven homers. He never got back on track after getting shelled in the majors, as Triple-A hitters strafed him for a 12.86 ERA and .404 average. Peterson still has big-time stuff, with an upper-90s fastball and a sometimes-nasty slider. He also mixes in a straight changeup that shows some sink. There’s a lot of effort in his delivery, which hampers his ability to throw strikes. His career record in the minors is 11-10, 4.18 with 31 saves in 107 appearances.