The Reds are listening to offers on all of their players, including -- sources say -- center fielder Billy Hamilton, an elite defender who seemed to turn a corner in his development as a hitter last summer before suffering a season-ending injury Sept. 4, a few days before his 26th birthday.
In Hamilton’s last 47 games, he has batted .286 with a .360 on-base percentage, with 32 runs scored and 36 stolen bases (in 40 attempts). His on-base against right-handed pitchers jumped from .276 to .340. Hamilton ranked seventh among all outfielders in Defensive Runs Saved. He led all major leaguers -- by far -- in Fangraphs’ baserunning efficiency metric.
For a big-market team with payroll and resource flexibility, Hamilton could be an incredible and devastating weapon, because of his once-in-a-generation baserunning skills. He could be used as a starter on some days.
But on other days -- depending on the matchups -- he could be used offensively in the same way that a closer is used to impact games, in being placed in high-leverage situations as a pinch-runner. Nobody is better at stealing bases. Nobody is better at taking the next 90 feet. The Royals demonstrated the potency of a dangerous baserunner over the last couple of years.