The free agent market is going to soon get a little boost in the form of the most attractive bench speed guy you could dream up.
We have recalled OF Brett Phillips from Omaha and designated OF Billy Hamilton for assignment. #Royals
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) August 16, 2019
Billy Hamilton. Want.
To be sure, Hamilton and the couple million left on his contract will first have to pass through waivers to become a free agent, but my guess is that he will. Maybe a rich club will pony up in order to get the elite defense and baserunning, but my thinking is that the fact he cannot start – absolutely cannot start (he’s hitting .211/.275/.269 with a 44 wRC+, and has become Terrance Gore, but a better defender and worse hitter).
Once he’s a free agent, though, the nature of late-season and post-season rosters is such that I WANT HAMILTON ON THIS CUBS TEAM.
Although the Tony Kemp addition did provide a little more depth on the bench (defensive ability and versatility), he is not really the prototypical late-season “speed” guy. Moreover, with Albert Almora sent to Iowa, the Cubs also lack a supreme defensive outfielder available late in games to pair with Jason Heyward.
I don’t think anyone should doubt that Hamilton is a DREAM addition for the Cubs at this point, especially considering he’ll cost just the pro-rated portion of the minimum when he clears waivers and becomes a free agent.
The rub? A whole lotta playoff teams are going to feel the same way. Virtually every team with a chance at the postseason should be falling all over themselves to find a way to make a Hamilton addition work, especially National League teams. For his part, I would have to think he’ll want to sign with either the team that provides him an opportunity to start (very hard to see on most teams, including the Cubs), or the team that provides the best chance at a deep postseason run (the Cubs aren’t in a bad spot, but they aren’t the Dodgers or Braves).
Maybe the Cubs could point to the Almora option as a selling point? “Clearly, you’d be our main defense and baserunning threat, and you’d get a good amount of time in the outfield because you aren’t blocked by Almora.” Or something like that. Maybe it works.