While Billy Hamilton’s name has been oft-mentioned in trade rumblings this offseason, a deal involving the Reds’ fleet-footed center fielder may not be all that likely, writes Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer. San Francisco’s acquisition of Andrew McCutchen doesn’t have much of an impact on the Giants’ chances of swinging a deal for Hamilton as they look to add a strong defender with their (limited) remaining financial resources. But, Buchanan reports after speaking with multiple sources, a deal was looking “unlikely” anyhow. Talks between the Giants and Reds regarding Hamilton have gone “dormant,” per Buchanan, adding that one source expects Hamilton to be in Cincinnati come Opening Day.
More from the division…
- Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. wouldn’t comment on the chances of his team signing Greg Holland, writes Ben Frederickson of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, but DeWitt generally expressed some trepidation about the notion of spending heavily (in either dollars or prospects) to acquire a “proven” closer. “[C]losers are not guarantees,” DeWitt said. “…It’s a hard job. You go over the history of closers, and it’s not particularly guaranteed that you’re going to get longevity, which you think you’ll get out of a starting pitcher.” DeWitt did acknowledge that he’d “rather give up dollars than players” in a general sense, but DeWitt’s full comments certainly don’t convey the sense that adding a high-profile arm for the ninth-inning is a top priority.
- Frederickson also writes that outfielder Randal Grichuk is “not thrilled” about the notion of being a reserve option in 2018, though that’ll be the case barring an injury to one of Marcell Ozuna, Tommy Pham or Dexter Fowler. Grichuk didn’t complain about his role so much as voice a desire to prove that he can still be a significant asset and factor prominently into the Cardinals’ success. “I hope they feel confident in themselves, and you don’t want anyone doubting themselves, but hopefully they know I’m there,” said the outfielder. “And if I get an opportunity, I’m going to try to make the best of it and not look back.” Frederickson’s column features quotes from roughly a half-dozen Cardinals players as well as manager Mike Matheny and DeWitt.
- Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review runs down some potential candidates for the Pirates’ outfield — both external and internal — in the wake of the Andrew McCutchen trade. Pittsburgh will likely be on the lookout for a right fielder, with Starling Marte headed to center field and Gregory Polanco shifting to left. Austin Meadows, according to Biertempfel, will head to Triple-A to open the year regardless of how well he plays in Spring Training. (One club source indicated to Biertempfel that Meadows could “hit .900 in Spring Training” and still be ticketed for the minors.) That’s not especially surprising when considering that Meadows posted an ugly .250/.311/.359 slash in his first exposure to Triple-A last year.
- ESPN’s Keith Law offers his opinion (subscription required and recommended) on the Pirates’ trade for McCutchen, whom he calls a “great” pickup for the Giants, given the putrid output they received from their outfield in 2017 and the low bar that McCutchen has to clear. While neither Kyle Crick nor outfield prospect Bryan Reynolds is an elite young talent, Law opines, Crick offers a potential long-term option in the bullpen and is the type of arm that can “sometimes turn to gold via the alchemy of baseball” despite his history of below-average command (a trait that he did improve in 2017). He calls Reynolds “very interesting,” adding that he considered Reynolds’ to be San Francisco’s second-best prospect at the time of the trade.