I found this nugget buried in a post on Lonnie Wheeler’s blog:

My sense – highly unconfirmed – is that the Reds not only want Josh Hamilton to make the team, they’d like him to make a run at the starting lineup. Preferably in center field . . .

What do you think about that?

About The Author

Blame Chad for creating this mess. Chad launched Redleg Nation in February 2005, and has been writing about the Reds ever since. His first book, "The Big 50: The Men and Moments That Made the Cincinnati Reds" is now available in bookstores and online, at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and wherever fine books are sold. You can also find Chad's musings about the Cincinnati Reds in the pages of Cincinnati Magazine. You can email Chad at chaddotson@redlegnation.com.

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14 Responses

  1. Robin Goodfellow

    When I saw Monday’s lineup in Rosecran’s blog that is exactly what I started thinking. Surely Junior will be in center for the first homestand and perhaps even until the team takes to the road for the second time. But once Hamilton has been with the team for three weeks or a month and (thanks to his Spring Training PT) faced big league pitchers for an extended period (Is it true that he’s never played higher than single A?) I cannot see why they wouldn’t try it. Wow! Local kid with a checkered past claims centerfield from the local kid with the big red pedigree.

  2. The Mad Hatter

    In a perfect world that would happen and work out smoothly for everyone and then ABC/ESPN can make the TV Movie but until some of his hits start coming off of big league pitchers later in spring training he still has a long way to go. And when did North Carolina become local to Cincinnati?

  3. Robin Goodfellow

    I’m not yet a believer myself. There aren’t a high proprtion of curveballs being thrown in the first week of ST.

    I thought I read that he had some connection to Dayton or Springfield. I could be wrong. I’m the “it’s all about the pitching” dork that reads any Dustin Hermanson update more intently than I do the February feel good features.

  4. preach

    Could you imagine the feeling Hamilton would have if he could play CF this year and look over to his left and see JR and look to his right and see Dunn during a regulation game? The world would stop for a minute for him, I’m sure. He’s doing great so far and I hope for continued success, but let’s wait a couple more weeks after he faces more pitchers who will be on big league rosters come April and after they have their timing down and start to throw more of their breaking balls before we annoint him our new center fielder.

  5. DevilsAdvocate

    On the Griffey angle to that possibility, and in general the concept of a move to right-field, that would be a classy gesture as mentioned by Robin above. Have him take the field at CF, and then move over to RF either after the homestand, after one game, or maybe even before the first inning is over – get him a standing O too.

  6. al

    i agree it’s hard not to think that’s what they’re looking for. marty keeps saying that he’s the best defensive outfielder in camp, so even if he could just hit a little bit, he’d be helping the team (if you believe marty).

    and to make an argument for the guy, he was a #1 draft pick out of high school, and so he gets a lot of comparisons to JR and A-Rod. Jr had only 61 ABs at AA, 219 at A+, and 182 at A- before he was in the majors.

    A-Rod played at all levels of the minors, but all in one year when he was 19, and he was a september call up that year too. So the argument goes, there might just be some special talents that are pretty much ready for top competition right from the get go.

    it would be an amazing stroke of luck for the reds, so i’m hoping.

  7. preach

    Good points on the minor league AB’s al. Forgot how quickly both A-Rod and Jr. made it to the show. I also wonder if Conine’s bad back and Freel’s propensity for wearing down won’t affect the decision where and when to play Hamilton. I know it’s still very early in Spring, but do you think that playing Bellhorn so much may affect things when they break camp, or do you think he’s just a body until Griffey and Conine get back to form? Also, too bad about Keppinger; he was having a good spring. I really hope Saarloos gets a fair look for that fifth spot. I really think he will perform well this year and would be ideal to pitch at GABP.

  8. John

    Just remembering how long this club fiddled with Wily Mo is enough to tell you this guy’s a lock (unless he completely blows it and looks like Josias Manzanillo out there). Lots of guys have torrid springs and don’t carry it over, but this guy — they’re just too high on him to cut him unless he does something really stupid. Like fail a drug test.

  9. Mark T

    Oh man – road trips, money, lots of tiem on his hands … the temptations in store for him. Keep fingers crossed that he really is intent on staying clean.

  10. Sultan of Swaff

    Good stuff Al. While I agree that some sort of gesture when moving Jr. is required, I don’t see JH as the immediate answer in center, either. How he hits the last two weeks of spring training will tell you a lot more about him than the first two. The most likely scenario in my mind would be a JH/Deno platoon, taking pains to only play JH in favorable situations (back of the rotation righties). Still, the thought of this guy and Homer exploding onto the scene is almost too much for this beaten down Reds fan to imagine.

  11. Daedalus

    Awesome.

    It’s looking like best case scenario could actually happen. Then we could have Human Highlight Freel play his super sub role all over the place four or five times a week and we have the best of both worlds.

  12. Chris

    Too bad about Keppinger. I thought he’d be a very interesting guy to have on the bench. He’s a very good contact guy (no power), and would fill a similar role to Hopper, only from an infield role (and with less speed).

  13. preach

    “Hopper with less speed?” That’s ME, Chris. Probably you, al, Chad, Daed, Sultan and Mr. Redlegs too…..

  14. Chris

    Good point.

    Though to be fair, very few people can even do what Hopper can – hit for a consistent .290 average, even without power. Keppinger’s minor league AVG is .315, which has some value. Not a ton, but some.