Cincinnati Reds say tough goodbye to Billy Hamilton

CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 04: Billy Hamilton #6 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after hitting the game winning home run in the 9th inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on September 4, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 5-4. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 04: Billy Hamilton #6 of the Cincinnati Reds celebrates after hitting the game winning home run in the 9th inning against the Milwaukee Brewers at Great American Ball Park on September 4, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. The Reds won 5-4. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images) /

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Billy Hamilton will not be offered arbitration this offseason, thus becoming a free agent.

As the 2018 RedsFest kicked off on Friday in downtown Cincinnati, news broke that center fielder Billy Hamilton would no longer be a member of the Cincinnati Reds after the team decided not to offer him arbitration this offseason. This set off a definite mixed bag of emotions on social media.

Many of the hardcore Reds fans had clamored for nearly two seasons that Cincinnati should part ways with Hamilton, while others are definitely more somber and choose to remember the good moments of the Billy Hamilton era in Cincinnati. Not only a stellar teammate, athlete, and good citizen of the Cincinnati community, Hamilton also gave some of the best post game interviews as he brought an obvious excitement and enthusiasm for the game of baseball.

Like many, I am getting a little emotional thinking about him not patrolling centerfield for our Reds in 2019. In some ways, this brings back a time in the early 1990s when as a teenager I had to come to grips with my Reds idol Eric Davis no longer being a part of the organization.

Live Feed


  • Cincinnati Reds made big mistake with Asdrubal Cabrera signingCall to the Pen
  • MLB Wild Card standings: Cardinals fly, Yankees nosedive and Padres collapseFanSided
  • Mookie Betts trades bat for T.J. Friedl’s first career home run like a class actFanSided
  • What would the MLB playoff bracket look like if season ended today?FanSided
  • NL Wild Card: Five teams enter, one team emergesCall to the Pen
  • However, a good friend and business colleague of mine lives by the motto, “Christmas is over and business is business”. The decision made by the Cincinnati Reds is strictly a business decision, and is one that will prove over time to be the right decision, although it is certainly one of mixed emotions.

    Hamilton’s speed on the base paths is phenomenal, as he has the ability to completely change the complexion of the outcome of a game. We witnessed this at Cleveland on May 24, 2017 where Billy kept a game alive by not only beating out what was initially called a game-ending double play, but later scored all the way from first on a Texas-leaguer to left field to tie the game that the Reds went on to win 4-3.

    However, for as many moments such as that night in Cleveland, there were many, “C’mon Billy,” moments. Remember Pittsburgh on June 16, 2018? In a 6-2 loss, Hamiton was 0-for-4 with two strikeouts in critical run scoring situations.

    Games like the one in Pittsburgh, coupled with a career .245 batting average, .298 OBP, and 545 strikeouts in 2736 plate appearances make it where the Cincinnati Reds can no longer afford to pay $6M, especially with MLB ready talent such as Nick Senzel waiting in the wings, coupled with two of the Reds Top 5 Prospects Taylor Trammell and Jose Siri advancing up through the system.

    While many Reds fans are already complaining on Twitter that the Cincinnati Reds should have traded Billy Hamilton either this past two trade deadlines or in the offseason, the reality is the Reds front office was not ready to part ways with Billy.

    Read. Top 5 Reds MVP-winning seasons of all-time

    Was it because he was a fan favorite that the Castellinis knew in lean rebuilding seasons would still help to draw fans to Great American? Was it that the returns being offered in a trade just did not add up at the time? Was it that Bob C. himself was emotionally attached to Hamilton?

    Only a few in the inner circle will ever know. We cannot look back, as frankly it does us no good. All we can do now is look to the future. Blog Red Machine cited a rumor earlier this week indicating the Reds are “all over” Dallas Keuchel. That sends a clear message that this offseason will not be spent messing around resurrecting Yovani Gallardo types. In short, the Reds are attempting to position themselves to win and win soon.

    The jury is still out if Nick Senzel can take the reigns in center field. Senzel is mentioned as saying that while he has not played center field, he is confident in his ability to play the position. Naturally that is the kind of swagger that a fanbase wants to see from this young buck. Senzel has proven throughout his career that he can play multiple infield positions, which would suggest that his athleticism will allow him to pick up this all important center field duties.

    What the Reds may give up in defense with the loss of Hamilton, they will recognize a significant gain in offense as Senzel has a career minor league batting average of .314, .390 OBP, 27 home runs, and 130 RBIs. This sets the stage for an outfield of Nick Senzel, Scott Schebler, Jesse Winker, with Phillip Ervin and possibly Jose Siri coming off the bench. That’s assuming no other moves are made that impact the outfield.

    As alluded to already, rumors are rampant in regards to Dallas Keuchel, Patrick Corbin, and J.A. Happ being potential free agent targets. There are the crazy rumors swirling of Noah Syndergaard and Zack Greinke being targeted in trades. Let’s also not lose site that Sonny Gray is still on the trading block as well. There’s also ongoing discussions regarding re-signing Matt Harvey, as the Cincinnati Reds have more and more resources to spend on starting pitching.

    Friday’s news regarding Billy Hamilton will prove prudent should the Cincinnati Reds front office truly land a quality starting pitcher, sign Matt Harvey back to a two-year deal, and continue to see improvement from the likes to Tyler Mahle and Luis Castillo. My hope is that they do not waste this moment of freeing up some payroll by not being able to make an impactful move that greatly improves the starting rotation. Time will certainly tell.

    Next. Top 5 Reds free agent signings of all-time

    In the meantime, I do hope that Reds Country will give Billy Hamilton his proper due. He gave a lot to the Reds organization, the city of Cincinnati, and to the Cincinnati Reds fanbase. He will be an asset with another organization, of which I will be pulling for him to succeed. Again, this was a necessary move for the Cincinnati Reds to make; it will just take some time for part of the fanbase to come to terms of his departure. That includes this particular Reds fan.