According to this morning’s USA Today, the Cincinnati Reds are shopping Josh Hamilton. Everybody knows his story. So, I won’t bother with the details. What is important is that he is young (27 in May), cheap, plays centerfield, has power and gets on base (131 OPS+ last year). I say go after him and he holds down centerfield until Andrew McCutchen is ready. Then determine which one of the two is better at CF with the other manning LF (or RF if Jason Bay is still with the club at that time).
1. Injury history – Hamilton spent a chunk of last year on the DL (just 26 games after the break)
2. Lack of playing time – until last Spring, he’d hardly swung a bat in the previous couple of years. Can he really be that good? Or will pitcher’s adjust to him? In limited time, he actually hit better in the second half of the season than the first. So, maybe he’ll be fine
3. Can he hit lefties? – he hit just .222 in 81 PAs against lefties last year with one homer. Again, he hasn’t seen much live pitching in the last two to three years compared to other 26 year old major leaguers. Maybe he’ll adjust to lefties and at least be average against them.
4. What will it take to get him? – I’d give up Zach Duke and two relievers. The folks at RedLeg Nation are thinking a bit higher. I’d go Snell and one reliever for Hamilton and Edwin Encarnacion, taking Encarnacion’s worse D and better bat over Jose Bautista at third base.