The Kansas City Royals have agreed to a one year, $5.25 million dollar deal with former Cincinnati Reds CF Billy Hamilton. ESPN’s Buster Olney is reporting that $1 million in incentives will also be part of the deal as well.
Billy Hamilton’s deal with Royals: one year, 5.25m, $1m incentives
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 10, 2018
Billy Hamilton Signs with the Kansas City Royals
Long mentioned as a trade candidate, Hamilton was instead non-tendered on November 30th, freeing him to sign with any interested team this offseason. Hamilton batted .236/.299/.327 with four home runs and 34 SB’s in 2018, snapping a streak of four straight 50+ SB seasons.
His defense declined slightly in comparison with previous seasons, as most metrics (4 DRS, 3 rARM, 5.9 UZR) rated him below his typical marks, though still above average when compared to the rest of the league. His rARM, in particular, ranked 11th overall in MLB despite the decline (3rARM in 2018, 6rARM in 2017).
Though worth only 0.3 bWAR this past season, Hamilton still represents an overall improvement for the Royals, who registered -0.5 bWAR production for the position. Defensively, however, the Royals enjoyed strong production in CF (17 DRS, 0rARM, 9.9 UZR), exceeding Hamilton’s production in all areas except rARM.
What Hamilton Brings to Kansas City
Adding his speed to the lineup will augment an already excellent lineup in that regard (6th overall in SB), and 2019 opponents should be wary of the Royals on the basepaths.
While Hamilton does bring some interesting tools to the table, he remains somewhat overrated due to his out of this world speed. The Royals should experience a slight boost with Hamilton as a regular in their lineup. This is mostly due to defense, though his continued struggles to get on base (.299 OBP in 2017 and 2018) will limit that benefit unless he can improve in that regard.