With four worthy outfielders for just three regular spots, it’s no surprise to hear that the Cincinnati Reds are perusing the trade market to see if they can open up some space. Each of Adam Duvall and Scott Schebler bashed over 30 dingers in 2017, but on-base machine Jesse Winker impressed in his debut season in the bigs last year, and according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, the Reds are looking for ways to get the young Winker more everyday playing time.
#Reds continuing to draw interest in their OFers, including Hamilton, as they try to clear a spot for Winker, sources tell The Athletic. #SFGiants remain strongest on Hamilton.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 12, 2017
Rosenthal notes that the San Francisco Giants have eyes on centerfielder Billy Hamilton, a rumor that The Enquirer’s Zach Buchanan has since corroborated. In fact, according to Buchanan, talks are advanced enough between San Francisco and Cincinnati that a deal may well be struck as early as this week.
A few interesting tidbits highlight this potential deal. On Cincinnati’s side of things, it’s worth noting that if Hamilton is moved, there’s no natural CF replacement on the current roster. Schebler can play there in a pinch, but is by no means excellent in the position and is still much better suited for a corner spot - and that, of course, doesn’t open up any additional space for Winker, who can’t play CF either. On the Giants’ end, they sport one of the weakest farm systems in all of baseball, so while the likes of Tyler Beede and Heliot Ramos may be too much for the Reds to ask for in exchange for Billy, the system gets extremely uninteresting quickly after those two prospects. In other words, matching up on a one for one trade might well get a bit tricky.
The Reds could try to expand things, however. Adam Duvall came up with the Giants and sports plenty of right-handed power, which is something the Giants have desperately been in search of after having nary a player on their team hit more than 20 dingers last year (and publicly failing to land Giancarlo Stanton last week). Pairing Duvall and Hamilton could be a way to entice the Giants to part with their better prospects, especially given Duvall’s league-minimum salary and four years of team control. Considering both Duvall and Hamilton were Gold Glove finalists this year, that might be something of special value to the Giants, whose outfield posted the single worst UZR in the National League in 2017.
The Hot Stove has officially been cranked up.