Billy Hamilton has been the Cincinnati Reds center fielder since the start of the 2014 season. He’s been incredible in the field. He’s been incredible on the bases. But, he’s been terrible at the plate. Over the last three seasons only JJ Hardy has posted a worse wRC+ with the bat. By one point. Essentially, Hamilton is arguably the worst hitter in the Major Leagues, and there haven’t been any signs of improvement along the way.
Despite the clear struggles with his bat, teams are very interested in his services according to Ken Rosenthal.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 12, 2017
Billy Hamilton’s skillset may be better suited for larger ballparks. With bigger gaps, both his defense, and offense, could play up. Defensively his range would shine, and more space in the gaps could allow a few more hits to find the grass, and with his speed, maybe a few more extra-base hits, too.
As Ken Rosenthal notes, the Giants are very interested. They have an enormous center field to cover, and Hamilton would certainly help with that. At the same time, the Giants had one of, if not the worst offenses in baseball in 2017. Billy Hamilton doesn’t help much there.
Of note in the tweet is that Rosenthal said the Reds outfielders, with an s. You’d have to imagine that means teams are asking about Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler, too. They are both under team control for longer than Hamilton, and are still making the league minimum. That gives the Reds a little more room to not “need” to trade either of them. But, it also gives both players more value because they are cheap and locked up for a handful of years.
The Cincinnati Reds, if they do trade Billy Hamilton, would need to likely acquire a center fielder from outside of the organization. While they’ve talked about the idea of Scott Schebler in center field, I have seen nothing that suggests they believe he should be out there every day. With how they used Phillip Ervin when Billy Hamilton was hurt late in the season, it doesn’t seem they believe he should be playing out there every day either. There’s no on in the upper minor leagues that’s a true center fielder in the organization at this point. If Hamilton is moved, finding another center fielder would be an absolute must.
Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer just posted a report that says the following about a Billy Hamilton to the Giants trade:
The source said that talks are advanced enough that something could be completed before the Winter Meetings end Thursday at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. However, the source said that’s no guarantee a deal is ultimately struck.