SoDo Mojo’s Mariners Trade-A-Day Series: Billy Hamilton
The MLB season continues to creep toward the July 31 trade deadline. Mariners fans wait in suspense to see what move GM Jerry Dipoto will make to better the team during the playoff push.
Many fans want another starting pitcher. Others want a bat to propel the offense and give the pitching staff run support. In this series of the Mariners Trade-A-Day, we dive into the possibility of adding another speedy outfielder in Billy Hamilton.
The Reds’ center fielder is not shy from the spotlight. The SportsCenter Top-10 plays seem to include a Billy Hamilton highlight regularly. Aside from the diving catches and home run robberies, Hamilton is playing his sixth year in the major leagues and has proven himself dangerous on both sides of the field.
Defensively, Hamilton has never carried a fielding percentage below .990 in his career while recording a career-high 13 defensive assists last season. Hamilton’s durability may also attract teams before the deadline – he has played at least 110 games in every season since 2014.
If Dipoto were to make a trade for Billy Hamilton, he must assess his offensive upside. Despite his value as a defender, Hamilton has experienced a slump in 2018 in comparison to other seasons. His .224 batting average this season is a career low, and his on-base percentage sits at just .303.
A Billy Hamilton trade would theoretically remove Guillermo Heredia from an everyday role. Though a Hamilton for Heredia trade sounds like a dream to most Seattle fans, their offensive performances are near-identical. In fact, Heredia’s .224/.311/.308 out-duels Hamilton’s .224/.303/.309.
Though this trade would be made to primarily boost Seattle’s offense, Hamilton and Heredia carry equal slash lines. However, Hamilton’s advantage over Heredia is on the bases. His 22 stolen bags sit him at T-4 in the major leagues, and he has at least 56 stolen bases in every season since 2014.
Of course, Seattle wants to upgrade the team any means possible with just 62 games to play. But Hamilton is not a player to give away your farm system for. So how might Dipoto acquire Billy Hamilton? Let’s dive in.
Our proposal: The Mariners acquire Billy Hamilton for Guillermo Heredia and Mike Morin.
The logistics of this trade are relatively simple. While Seattle gets Hamilton, the Reds receive a center-fielder in return with almost identical offensive output and potential.
Cincinnati is 43-56 and in last place in a competitive NL Central. This isn’t an excuse to ship away star players, but the Reds will certainly not be ‘buying’ before the trade deadline. They are ranked 27th in team pitching, and this is where reliever Mike Morin fits into the trade picture.
The Reds would be foolish to accept a straight trade of Hamilton for Heredia. So, the Mariners would trade Cincinnati a bullpen arm with MLB experience. At just 27, Mike Morin has already pitched in 186 games and holds a career 4.66 ERA. With both an established center-fielder and MLB caliber pitcher in the trade, the Reds just might make Billy Hamilton a Mariner.
Before Dipoto can complete a trade for Billy Hamilton, he must ponder where the outfielder can fit into the lineup. With an almost-cemented Gordon-Segura-Haniger lineup at the top, Hamilton would most likely find himself near the bottom, hoping to get on base and provide additional RBI’s for catcher Mike Zunino.
Next: Should the Mariners Extend Felix Hernandez?
The trade that would bring Billy Hamilton to Seattle could benefit both teams. After swapping center-fielders, the Reds acquire a bullpen arm that compensates for Hamilton’s offensive advantage over Guillermo Heredia. Your move, Jerry Dipoto.