This was suspected from the moment the season ended, but Reds GM Walt Jocketty has made it official: speedster Billy Hamilton will be moving to center field and will be playing at Triple-A Louisville in 2013.
Hamilton made more headlines than your average Single-A and Double-A player usually does in 2012 thanks to his stealing an astounding 155 bases. Still, he doesn’t have a position with Zack Cozart at short and, with Shin-Soo Choo patrolling center field in his final year before hitting free agency, center field is his ticket to the bigs.
As is hitting. He posted a .410 OBP in 2012, which is fantastic. And if he keeps that up by continuing to walk and continuing to beat out almost everything hit on the ground to the infield, he may be in Cincinnati sooner than 2014.
This is more significant for basketball fans than baseball fans, but Magic Johnson is taking over basketball operations for the Los Angeles Lakers. Dan Feldman over at PBT has the full story on that.
For our purposes, you probably know that Johnson is part of the Dodgers ownership group. Anthony McCullough of the L.A. Times got comment from the Dodgers, saying that despite his new full-time job, his status with the Dodgers will be unchanged:
Maybe I’m alone in this, but I’m not entirely certain what Magic does with the Lakers, so the first clause in Kasten’s comment may be doing most of the heavy lifting here.
Jon Heyman reports that the Nationals are closing in on a deal with catcher Matt Wieters. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that it’s a two-year deal. UPDATE: Ken Rosenthal reports that the deal is for two years, at $21 million. There is an opt-out for him after year one. He will get $10 million in 2017 and, if he returns in 2018, he’ll get $11 million.
Wieters was not expected to go this long without signing, but his market, which many thought would be robust, never materialized. The Nats had been rumored to be interested for months, but they were apparently waiting to swoop in late and get what one presumes will be a bargain.
Wieters, 30, finished last season hitting .243/.302/.409 with 17 home runs and 66 RBI in 464 plate appearances. The Nationals currently have Derek Norris and Jose Lobaton, so who falls where in the catcher fight in Washington is unclear, but one presumes that Wieters getting a two-year deal puts him at the top of the depth chart.