The San Francisco Giants are fresh off one of the more disappointing seasons in recent memory, and I’m saying that as a daily, recalcitrant fan of the Cincinnati Reds. The Giants have claimed a trio of World Series titles within the last eight seasons and have a payroll pushing a jillion bucks, yet finished with a record that tied the Detroit Tigers for the worst in all of baseball in 2017.
One of the single most glaring problems they faced in 2017? Outfield defense, specifically with Denard Span being tasked with manning CF with their cavernous home park and the large parks of the National League West. Span’s -5.7 DRS and -8.7 UZR/150 were reminiscent of strapping a glove and a blindfold to a butterfly and hoping for the best, which makes it zero surprise that the Giants have interest in improving their CF defense in a big, big way heading into 2018.
As FOX’s Jon Morosi relayed on Monday evening, that interest extends to Cincinnati’s speedy CF Billy Hamilton, too.
Sources: #SFGiants have shown interest in #Reds CF Billy Hamilton on trade market. Bobby Evans looking for ways to improve outfield defense; Jackie Bradley Jr. is another option, as previously reported. @MLB @MLBNetwork— Jon Morosi (@jonmorosi) November 13, 2017
Hamilton, of course, has managed to find himself as a finalist for a Gold Glove award as the Reds’ everyday CF four times already in his career, and has deserved every consideration. By one metric, Billy’s been the third most valuable defender of any position in all of baseball since 2014, which makes his paltry OBP and offensive ability palatable at what projects to be a $5 million salary in 2018 (with another year of team control on top of that in 2019 for the Reds).
Two things about this particular flirtation jump out at me immediately. For one, the Giants’ farm system is largely awful, which would make the Reds’ chances of finding a player worth trading for Billy a bit difficult. The second, though, is that the Reds don’t exactly have a ready-made CF prospect either in the system or on the roster, which makes trading him a bit of a precarious proposition. Phil Ervin can probably cover CF in some small OFs, but hasn’t exactly impressed in his CF play to date. Similarly, Scott Schebler has played CF in Hamilton’s absence the last few seasons, but hasn’t exactly looked the part of a plus guy to have there everyday.
With the GM meetings getting underway this week, this is certainly a storyline worth watching, albeit one that might take a few more moves, shakes, and pieces to truly become something that might materialize.