The Cubs Did Not Get Billy Hamilton - the Braves Did - and I Am Slightly Sad About It

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The Cubs Did Not Get Billy Hamilton – the Braves Did – and I Am Slightly Sad About It

Chicago Cubs

Context, context, context: I’m not SUPER upset about any of this. When it comes to August upgrades and additions, particularly in this era of no more waiver trades, the moves are all at the extreme margins. They are unlikely to make the difference between a postseason berth (let alone a deep run) and going home, but they’re nice moves that can help in a “you never know” kind of way.

So it was, for example, with the Jonathan Lucroy addition. The Cubs had a pretty significant need after the Willson Contreras injury, and they lucked into Lucroy becoming available after clearing waivers at just the right time. Not a huge deal in the abstract, but within the context of an August addition, pretty badass.

And that’s kinda how it is with Billy Hamilton, who became available over the weekend, and for whom I was seriously pining. His extreme speed and defense made him the PERFECT bench addition for the Cubs, and as I put it, if he reached free agency, the Cubs needed to JUMP ALL OVER THAT.

The problem? The Cubs aren’t the only team he made sense for, particularly in the National League. The other problem? He didn’t reach free agency.

The Braves claimed Hamilton on waivers, assuming the $2-ish million he’s owed between the rest of this year and the buyout of his 2020 option. It’s a very steep price to pay in dollars for a pinch-runner and late-game defender, but if you have the available scratch and you know – like the Braves do – that you’re going to make the postseason, it’s a really nice way to buy a little extra impact at the margins.

Especially if you’re going to be very smart about how to deploy him:

For the Cubs, picking up that cash apparently was not worth it – they would have had a crack at Hamilton on waivers before the Braves – and that should surprise no one, as they had to get a special dispensation to pick up Nick Castellanos at the deadline. And while I would obviously like the Cubs to have Hamilton in the fold, I have accepted the realities of the financial situation (which, let’s be clear, includes the Cubs this year spending more than any team outside of Boston).

So, anyway, now it’s the Braves who’ll get the benefit of a rare impact baserunner who can also offer elite late-game defense. That could be huge down the stretch and into the postseason, where they will face the NL Central champion in the division series …


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Author: Brett Taylor

Brett Taylor is the Editor and Lead Cubs Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at @BleacherNation and @Brett_A_Taylor.