We first reported back in November that the Giants were interested in trading for Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton. A month later, the Reds were reportedly in “serious” trade talks with San Francisco for Hamilton’s services.

If Hamilton is ultimately traded, it likely won’t be to San Francisco. Today, the Giants signed Austin Jackson to a two-year contract:

You have to assume that the Giants intend for Jackson to play center field, especially in light of their recent trade for Andrew McCutchen, who will reportedly play right field at San Francisco’s AT&T Park.

This doesn’t mean that the Reds won’t be trading Hamilton after all, but it does take one significant suitor off the table. There have been reports, however, that the Reds have had discussions with other clubs:

On the other hand, there are reports that Reds owner Bob Castellini will be a hurdle to any eventual Hamilton trade.

Stay tuned.

53 Responses

  1. Cincinnati Jeff

    I posted this question on a different thread but its probably better served here:

    If the Reds offered Billy Hamilton 3yrs/$15m would he take it and would you do it? If the plan is to compete in 2019 and beyond wouldn’t Billy be the ultimate 4th OF, pinch runner defensive replacement extraordinaire? The value he could generate with 400 PA seems like it would be much greater than any other 4th OF around. Plus, those skills would be absolutely savage in October.

    If they aren’t getting any decent offers I don’t think it would be the worst idea.

    • Streamer88

      I would absolutely take it. It makes him a value for us and any potential trade partner would then have cost certainty.

      • Michael E

        I don’t want to keep Hamilton as a starter (he’ll only decline from here forward), but it would be low enough (it sounded high 10 years ago) they could bench him and play him the way they did as a rookie. One start a week and lots of pinch running and defensive late game substitutions. Hamilton should go back to late game weapon, while he still has great speed. After that, he should be playing in an independent league.

  2. Kap

    I believe the reds will get serious about trading billy at the trade deadline. A team will realize that he can be a difference maker on the bases and in the field and will be more valuable in tight games that mean something. That way trammell and siri will be closer to the majors

    • Michael E

      I don’t, Castellini won’t approve it unless Hamilton is on a 50 game hitless streak and then of course the offers will be putrid (only a team in desperate need of 5th OF, late game pinch runner would make an offer.

  3. Scooter Rolen

    Good thing is that there is no rush to trade him. No clear replacement and fairly cheap price. If somebody makes the right offer then do it, otherwise no need.

    Might be a good thing that SF and their weak farm are no longer interested.

  4. Ethan L

    Two thoughts:

    1) I would have liked to see Billy go. To me, his lack of offense is frustrating and then compounded by him batting first. In a similar vein, I would like to see Duvall and Scooter hit the road.

    2) The Giants are taking on some big contracts. From what I see, the method for success is developing talent, not acquiring/signing veterans. I don’t see good things in SF’s long-term future…and I’m okay with that.

    • David

      I don’t think the Giants are stooopid. They have won two World Series in the last 5 seasons. 2017 was a dog, but a lot of players were hurt. Playing to win is what it is called. The future will take care of itself.
      The Reds have a terribly bright future, with Billy Hamilton and his obscure OPS patrolling Centerfield until he is 35 years old, per our patron and leader, Bob Castelini.
      Bring back Skip Schumacher!

      • Ethan L

        I guess time will tell with the Giants. I don’t think they’re stupid. They’re making moves to try to contend. I just don’t think that they’re method is sustainable. They have one of the worst farm systems in baseball. I don’t think what they’re doing is sustainable. Developing talent through the farm system and adding the occasional veteran for extra umph is the method that got them those WS rings in the first place. From my perspective, they’re deviating from their bread and butter. Indeed, without a good farm system “The future will take care of itself”, and I don’t anticipate the future being too kind to them. Like I said earlier, time will tell.

      • B-town Fan

        Three World Series in five years starting in 2010

      • Ethan L

        Totally! Fantastic accomplishment. A job well done. However, their farm system is one of the worst in baseball. They’ve depleted it in making deadline deals and acquiring veterans to keep pace. That gave them a boost in the short and intermediate term. However, I think it is going to cost them long-term. Without a strong farm system, I don’t think they’ll be able to have the success that they did.

      • Michael E

        A Bumgarner will do that for a team. They had some timely hitting, good managing and maybe the best big game ACE in baseball. He’s better than Kershaw because of this.

        A healthy Bumgarner will make them better in 2018, but as Ethan L noted, they’re aging, no help on the horizon and still, even after trades, a poor hitting team with terrible defense.

    • Ken

      Why would any of you wana see duvall or scooter go 2 sources of legit power something we dont have alot of i dont understand the young kids will take time to develope or not these 2 are proven power bats Senzel may be ready maybe not hamilton i could care less he good but no offense great d but no o we need to focus on pitching get rid of homer and disco to onjuryprone let stephans start and lezrn2 with Castillo and mahle and finnigan mabe he should be switched to closer we need pitching and not reclaimed vets

      • Ethan L

        1) Duvall. He’s streaky. He fell off the table in the second half; he was a shell of himself. wRC+ of 98 and fWAR of 1.8. Not scintillating numbers. Combine that with projections of 0.6 or 0.7 WAR and 88 wRC+, and you’ve got a player on the decline. You could argue that they’re just projections. Even if he matched last year’s numbers, it’s not good enough. Plus, he’s on the wrong side of the ageing curve. Moving him opens up space for Winker, who has great potential.

        2) Scooter. IMO, last year was unusually high and not sustainable. It’s a buy-low, sell-high kind of thing. I don’t think he can sustain last year’s performance. I think he’ll come back to down. I could be wrong. This is just my opinion.

        3) Pitching. We have great depth. We can’t dump Homer on anyone. No one will take him. We’re paying him, so we might as well use him. He may be blocking a spot, but there’s the potential that he could return to his old form. I agree with you: give Mahle, Lorenzen, and Bob Steve a shot. I am also bearish on Finny.

      • Michael E

        I agree on Scooter. I don’t hate him, far from it, but if he can garner a good prospect at a position of need (still SP after all these years), then I’d move him. IF they don’t move him, I am not mad…unless it somehow continues to impede Senzel’s rise. We don’t have any really good 2nd base candidates right now. Many talk about Herrera, but he has been constantly dogged with should injuries/soreness. He may never make it to MLB as a starting player. The rest of the 2nd base candidates can’t hit a lick or are still a couple of years away.

      • sanantonefan

        Scooter had a great year, but is poor defensively and probably won’t sustain that production. Plus, as some have remarked, he is blocking Senzel.

  5. kmartin

    I have accepted the fact that Billy Hamilton is going to be our lead off hitter for the next several years and moved on. I am a happier person for it.

    • james garrett

      I agree its just the way it is.Lets just move on.

    • Michael E

      Until he is hitting 8th or 9th, the Reds will not be a contender, barring some great run of luck whereby two of our SP prospects develop into a Madison Bumgarner and Corey Kluber.

    • Michael E

      Happier until the games start and you watch him flailing like a low A ball hitter that was mistakenly started in an MLB game.

    • Big56dog

      There is no justification guaranteeing your worst hitters get the most PA- its is just out right dumb. He could have the same impact batting 9th- batting 8th makes no sense

  6. Jim Walker

    Depending on how the Reds filled out the rest of the lineup, I could be OK with BHam in CF the next couple of seasons; but not with him as the lead off guy.

    • Michael E

      I don’t like BHam as a starting player, no matter where he hits, but I could at least stomach him if he was buried down the lineup getting the fewest ABs possible. I’d still rather see him pinch running every game…he’d probably have a higher WAR if he did that and be worth more to the Reds.

      • greenmtred

        Subtract BH and the Reds are contenders? I’m pretty sure I read here recently that he’s been above average most of his years with the Reds.

  7. JoshG

    Giants signed OF Austin Jackson to a two-year, $6 million contract.

    He’ll have an opportunity to earn an addition $2.5 million in incentives. Jackson made the Indians’ Opening Day roster last season after having to settle for a minor league contract, and he wound up hitting a robust .318/.387/.482 over 318 plate appearances. The Athletic’s Andrew Baggarly hears that the Giants plan on Jackson being their fourth outfielder, as they’re still on the lookout for a defensive upgrade in center field.

    • lwblogger2

      Hmmm, that could be interesting then.

  8. scotly50

    I have said this before, baseball: for the most part is just entertainment. His defensive skills, (and should he get on base), his base-running skills are entertaining to the fans. He is a decent ballplayer, just not an ideal lead-off hitter.

  9. davemoorewvu

    If the Giants are out of contention by the All Star break, I look for them to trade everybody and go into a full blown rebuild. I think the recent trades and FA signings are one last chance to win with MadBum, Posey, etc.

    And I still like BHam in CF, just not batting leadoff. He would be a good #8 or #9 hitter. I would honestly be ok with that. I just don’t have faith that Price will bat him in that spot.

    • bouwills

      The Reds offense could have afforded Billy in CF with Cozart at ss. With Peraza at ss, the Reds need more from cf than Billy provides.It seems to me that it’s better to keep your All Star ss than to let him walk & have to upgrade your cf, but Williams knows best. Peraza at ss & Billy in cf puts a lot of pressure on the other 6 guys to provide the offense.

      • lwblogger2

        I think it really came down to around $13-million a year against payroll and questions about rather or not Cozart could stay healthy and even if so, what kind of decline he might have in 2019, 2020.

  10. Davy13

    The supposed value of BillyH is over-appraised. His biggest asset – speed – is diminished and mitigated by not getting on base enough (he didn’t even lead the majors in SB). His other big asset, defense, is impactful but only for low number of games. Another with above-average defense can make up for that in most instances. If his value is batting #8-9, then the team can find better hitters for that role in FA or in the minors His overall WAR is 1.0. My point, and belief, is that BillyH is more valuable as a trade chip, probably in a package, for a much more impactful player in the everyday lineup, like Yelich for example.

    • Gonzo Reds

      Billy Hamilton, Hunter Greene (while he still has value), and one of those extra SP prospects that are cluttering up AAA for us but would get a shot in Miami for Yelich..

      • Colorado Red

        Hunter has potential to be special.
        I do not understand Hunter haters out her.
        Glad you are not in charge, we would stink for ever.

    • greenmtred

      Out of curiosity, where would the 2017 Reds, with Yelich in center instead of Billy, and minus whoever else they had to include in the package, have finished? Playoffs? Last place?

      • Michael E

        Last place, entire starting staff was injured or sucked for 75% of the year. We did have some good moments (Castille, Mahle and others having some good starts), but pitching was awful again in 2017 (after a horrible 2016).

        We won’t contend until we have at least an average rotation, and that assumes we get to or maintain an average bullpen.

        B Ham is not the cause of us being in last place, for sure, but isn’t a solution to contending either, unless we have decent pitching and a lineup full of above average hitters around him (like all 7 above average to make up for his futility).

    • Gonzo Reds

      Looking like the Brewers are now the leading candidate to pull off a trade for Yelich. Cards/Cubs/Brewers all looking to improve their clubs, Reds stagnant with only the Pirates sell off potentially keeping us out of the 2018 cellar.

  11. Streamer88

    I would love for the Reds to build his value this spring and early summer by playing him at 2B/SS (the positions he played coming up) to showcase to teams his ability to serve that late inning pinch runner and defensive sub. Of course that would mean more ABs for Jesse Winker… perhaps an ulterior motive of mine. Win-win-win!

    • lwblogger2

      Not sure about 2B but he had tons of time at SS and it wasn’t pretty at all. That’s why they moved him to CF in the first place. He’s an outstanding CF. So, I’m not sure why a team would want to try him back at SS or 2B. This is especially true as it has been 5+ years or so since he’s played there.

  12. Zakk

    We’d be lucky to get a bucket of baseballs for him. He can’t even bunt…

  13. Still a Red

    With all the (mainly legit) reasons people are giving for trading Billy, why would any other team want him or give up anything to get him?? Even if you throw him in to sweeten a package with one of our better players, we would still lose our better player, with little more to show for it. Now is the time for the Reds platoon him, bat him 8th plus use him in late inning situations. I hope the Reds are creative enough to try that.

    • Michael E

      It’s obvious a few other teams want or wanted him. We all know he wouldn’t bring back another teams #1 prospect. We also know he’ll only get worse from here, so the time to move him is now. That speed is going to decline and that is the only skill Hamilton has. Can’t hit, can’t bunt, can’t take a pitch, has a mediocre arm. He can fly, but we’re going to be stuck watching that erode as well.

      The bad thing is him taking ABs from better hitters. You can throw a rock at 20 OFs standing around in spring training and hit a better hitting player. We don’t need a gold glover in CF, we need better pitching (maybe injuries slow down and some of these younger guys get it going, the talent is there). I’d happily take an average defensive OF, who makes all the routine plays, rarely makes a spectacular play, but can be considered an asset in the batter’s box and not a near automatic out or rally-killer like Hamilton.

      Schebler could play CF in a pinch, so could Irvin, so could 100 plus slightly slow BHams littering the minors. They’re full of no hit, good defense OFs. Sign one to the minimum and have them start once or twice a week when a flyball prone pitcher is on the mound, the rest of the time, start the solid, not great defensive CF that can actually be a threat on offense.

  14. Jeff Reed

    I don’t think Billy Hamilton will be traded as long as Price is the manager. And considering Billy’s offense, the price being asked by the Reds is too high. Plus, he’s a favorite of the owner.

    • Bill

      I don’t think the manager has that much input on trades. Castellini not wanting to trade him, the high asking price, and the lack of a replacement are reasons why he might not get traded.

  15. Matt Esberger

    If Billy is traded the best destination would probably be an American League team like Detroit or Kansas City because of spacious outfield and hide bat by batting him ninth in line-up. Detroit’s minor league system has had upgrade in past year but signs show rebuilding more than retooling like past Tiger teams.KC will probably need a CF because most likely Cain not coming back. I do have to say suprised Giants opted Austin Jackson over Lorenzo Cain. Also would Hunter Pence be on trading block.

    • lwblogger2

      Jackson was awfully cheap. Now, I’ve seen above that they may have just signed him to be a 4th OF. If that’s the case then Hamilton and Cain or even John Jay could be in play. I think Cain puts them above the tax threshold and I don’t think they wanted to cross that payroll line.

      • Bill

        I read that they are $2.1 million under the luxury threshold. I think they will have to trade someone on the Major League to get someone like Cain or Hamilton. Maybe they could get the Reds take on a few million of Hamilton’s salary for better return? Staying under the threshold and signing a CF just doesn’t seem possible without making other moves

      • Shchi Cossack

        After signing Jackson, anyone not making near major league minimum puts the Giants over the tax threshold unless they get salary relief by moving a contract. That would include any of the FA’s available and a trade for anyone who has reached arbitration. Cain, Jay or Hamilton would put them over the tax threshold. Trading for a good per-arb player would require prospects which the Giants do not have.

  16. Indy Red Man

    Something tells me Cain isn’t going to get what he thought he’ll get….like Dexter Fowler a few years ago. 15 HRs and turns 32 this year with only 2 seasons of 500+ atbats. Of course the Reds won’t be a player but Milw or Cubs wouldn’t surprise me at all.

  17. WVRedlegs

    I think what we’ll see soon is that the AL West teams break up this stagnant off-season with a flurry of moves by Seattle, Texas, and the LA Angels which will get the attention of Houston. Texas might re-sign Darvish. The Angels might sign Arrieta or Cobb. Seattle is always tinkering. Even after acquiring Garrett Cole, something big in the AL West will happen to cause Houston to go get one more weapon.
    Would George Springer move to LF or RF for Houston to put Hamilton in CF?
    Houston will leave nothing to chance and will contact Cincinnati about Hamilton. It won’t be a 1-for-1 trade, but Hamilton going to Houston and Derek Fisher going to Cincinnati will headline the deal.

    • WVRedlegs

      I could also see Cleveland swoop in under the radar and getting Hamilton for OF Tyler Naquin.
      Cleveland and Houston will both have to fend off the Yankees and Red Sox also.

  18. Still a Red

    Sorry to all you Yelich fans…Brewers got him. Sounds like it would have cost Reds 4 elite prospects plus $44 M. While perhaps worth it, not sure Reds could have afforded it.

    • Broseph

      I heard about the four prospects, but didn’t know the dollar figure attached.

      Depending on the projections of those included in the trade, it’s a good possibility the Reds would’ve taken a huge hit on players looking to knock down the door soon. I just don’t think the Reds could afford sending, Senzel, Winker and Trammel type players for one guy at this point

      At seven years, that’s a pretty decent deal though and they can flip him later on in the later years of that deal for good prospects.