With the news on Friday that the Cincinnati Reds did not offer a contract to speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton, could the Colorado Rockies look to add him to the roster?
A recent ESPN.com article listed the offseason needs for all 30 Major League teams and had center field as a priority for the Colorado Rockies heading into the 2019 campaign. Among the possibilities listed in the article for a Colorado trade with the Reds for Hamilton. However, with the Reds sending Hamilton out the door, the Rockies can now look to add him without giving up prospects.
Of course, the problem is this … Hamilton’s hitting would not fit in with Colorado’s desperate need to boost the offense before next season. Yes, his defense would be an upgrade over Charlie Blackmon and allow Blackmon to move to a corner outfield spot. His speed on the base paths (34 stolen bases last season after four consecutive seasons of 56 or more) could also be seen as a weapon to be used.
However, his OPS+ has been at 77 or less for the last four seasons while, last season, he struck in out just over 26 percent of his plate appearances.
The 28-year-old Hamilton will certainly draw some attention, but will it be from the Rockies? Colorado seemingly has a player in Raimel Tapia who could play center field and shares Hamilton’s skill set and issues (struggling at times to get on base but can make things happen when he gets on). However, Hamilton certainly has the edge over Tapia when it comes to defense.
If Colorado is going to upgrade in the outfield, it has to be about more than just defense. The Rockies need to add a bat to their lineup. If they were to pursue Hamilton, they would likely have to stash him at the bottom of the order, an area where they struggled mightily last season.
Overall, Hamilton would bring speed, a defensive mindset and be an asset in the large outfield areas of Coors Field. However, his inability to make an offensive impact would far outweigh the positives for a Rockies team looking for more pop at the plate on their quest for a third consecutive postseason appearance.