Cincinnati Reds pushed Billy Hamilton to steals crown

(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images) /

The Cincinnati Reds brought center fielder Billy Hamilton back in the hopes that he could win the National League steals crown.

The Cincinnati Reds tried to help center fielder Billy Hamilton beat out Dee Gordon of the Miami Marlins for the stolen base title.  Going into the final game of the season, the Marlins’ second baseman held a one steal lead.

After injuring his thumb on September 6, Hamilton went on the DL.  He came back on the 22nd.  Since then, he only has one steal.

During the time period when Hamilton was on the DL, Gordon had six steals.  Gordon put two on the board the last Saturday of the season.  That meant that Hamilton needed to add two of his own to regain the lead the last game of the season.

Despite being out of the playoffs, Marlins’ manager Don Mattingly played Gordon in every game in September.  Gordon came off of the bench in two and started the rest.  This is not too different from the way that the Marlins had handled Giancarlo Stanton’s run at sixty home runs this year.

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Meanwhile, the Reds benched Hamilton for a pair of games over the last week.  He actually has a hit in every game since he returned from the DL.  It seems like the Reds aren’t sure if they want him to win the crown.

The Cincinnati Reds are in a conundrum whether they want Billy Hamilton here or there next season.

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The Reds should have decided when they brought Hamilton back whether it was to make him more tradable or keep him less expensive.  The Reds may want him back next season.  If so, they need to have a low arbitration number.

The Reds have been able to keep him for so long thanks to his injury and OBP issues.  While he did not on the DL at the end of the season, he only completed one season in his career without a trip to the DL so far.  He also has a career OBP .298.

Those numbers have eroded his arbitration case just enough for the Reds.  This year, though, they let Hamilton come back at the end of the season.  It makes you wonder if they are looking to move him.

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The Reds dangled him last off-season and got interest from the Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, and Texas Rangers because of Hamilton’s elite speed.  This year there are sure to be more teams that come asking about him.  Those teams would strongly prefer a stolen base champion.