FanPost

Steve Phillips, here is your mole hill...

now make a mountain.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/spring2007/columns/story?columnist=phillips_steve&id=2792089

The Josh Hamilton story is a great one. Good for him. It is nice to see Hamilton overcome his demons and start to thrive again. Baseball is a game of redemption; when you fail there is always a chance to bounce back. He is making the most of his second chance, and I hope and pray that he will keep his life together and fulfill his potential as a player. People deserve second chances. Heaven knows I have had my share.

Hamilton was selected in December's Rule 5 draft by the Cubs and traded to the Reds, which means that he must stay in the major leagues for the Reds to keep him. Otherwise, he will have to go through waivers and ultimately be offered back to the Devil Rays, his original team. What an opportunity for him. He has only played 15 minor league games in the past four seasons due to injuries and drug suspensions, yet he has a chance to be a big leaguer. It sounds great, but there is another side to it.

Josh Hamilton
AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty
Hamilton earned a $3.96M signing bonus from the Devil Rays as the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft.

Every decision made by an organization impacts every other decision. Every decision makes a statement about that organization and what it believes in. Every decision sets a precedent for the next decision. On a daily basis, minor league players are instructed, developed, cultivated and directed on how to become major league players. They are told to work hard, stay committed to their careers, make good decisions, be professional, be a good teammate, etc.

The decision to acquire Hamilton and give him a chance to be a major league player without doing anything to earn it over the past four seasons makes a statement to current Reds major leaguers and especially to the organization's minor league players. This one decision contradicts everything the organization claims is important.

I am not trying to be insensitive. In fact, I am rooting for Josh Hamilton to do very well. If I was a general manager I would want him in my organization to serve as an example of redemption and perseverance. I just wouldn't have picked him in the Rule 5 draft and made the statement that he deserves to be a major leaguer right now. It sends the wrong message to all of the hardworking, dedicated young men who are paying the price to get to the major leagues. Not to mention that it sends the wrong message to Hamilton.

Maybe the organization can spin the decision and find a way to justify it to its young prospects. My experience is that ballplayers see through that. Their take will be that if you have talent, it doesn't really matter what you do or how you behave -- there is a place for you at the top. That is not the attitude that leads to championships.

Even if Hamilton develops into something more than a spring training phenom, it wouldn't change my decision about the merits of selecting him. But what's done is done, and I for one will root for his success as hard as I can because it really is a great story.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

Join Red Reporter

You must be a member of Red Reporter to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Red Reporter. You should read them.

Join Red Reporter

You must be a member of Red Reporter to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Red Reporter. You should read them.

Spinner

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker