The Pittsburgh Pirates are searching the free-agent market for a starting centerfielder. One of their reported options came off the board yesterday.
After the Pittsburgh Pirates traded centerfielder Starling Marte, it was assumed that Brian Reynolds will take the wheel on the centerfield job. However, new general manager Ben Cherington was very clear that he plans on adding another outfielder. Specifically, he is looking for someone capable of handling centerfield every day.
Not long after that came out, it was reported by multiple insiders that the team was interested in outfielders Kevin Pillar, Cameron Maybin, and Billy Hamilton. All three names seemed like logical fits for the Pittsburgh Pirates. All three are speedy plus defenders, who have had some inconsistencies with the bat but have been productive enough in their careers.
Kevin Pillar has made the most sense, with Cameron Maybin not being a bad fall back option. Pillar played a lot of years in Toronto and was there while Ben Cherington was the Vice President of Baseball Operations. On the other hand, Hamilton is the player that used to play in the Pittsburgh Pirates division. Fans remember him torturing the Bucs not only in the outfield but also at the plate.
Still, of the three, Hamilton made the least amount of sense. He has always struggled at the plate despite always being productive against the Pirates. Also, last year he only hit for a .218 batting average and overall is a career .242 hitter. If the Bucs are hoping to find a consistent center fielder who they could potentially flip at the deadline for a decent return, Hamilton is not the answer.
Well, the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans do not need to worry about the team signing Hamilton. Yesterday, it was announced that he signed with the San Francisco Giants. He signed a minor-league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
The fact that he did not receive a major league contract likely suggests the level of interest that teams around the league had in him. The Bucs clearly want another outfielder, Hamilton’s best chance of finding playing time would have been in Pittsburgh, so the team must not have been considering him all that seriously.
Also, could this be a sign that they are closing in on another target, so Hamilton decided to go in another direction? With Spring Training just a few weeks away teams will likely be hustling to get their rosters set. Meanwhile, players will be trying to make a decision on where they will play this upcoming season. So hopefully the Bucs will grab one of Maybin or Pillar.