Billy Hamilton was never really in the mix for Opening Day job because he’s 22 years old and has just 50 career games above Single-A, but today the Reds made it official by reassigning the fastest man in baseball to minor league camp.
Hamilton has made the transition from shortstop to center field, but has yet to play the outfield in an actual minor league game. So he’ll get some work in at Triple-A while Shin-Soo Choo provides a short-term stop gap at the position.
Hamilton hit .311 with a .410 on-base percentage in 132 games between high Single-A and Double-A last season, setting the all-time record with a ridiculous 155 stolen bases.
Extension season continues. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal reports that the Cardinals and first baseman Paul Goldschmidt are close to an agreement on a five-year extension. The value is believed to be around $130 million, according to Derrick Goold of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Goldschmidt was set to become a free agent after the season.
The Cardinals acquired Goldschmidt, 31, from the Diamondbacks in December in exchange for Luke Weaver, Carson Kelly, Andy Young, and a 2019 competitive balance round B pick. The slugger is a six-time All-Star, a three-time Gold Glove Award winner, and a four-time Silver Slugger Award winner. Goldschmidt owns a career .297/.398/.532 triple-slash line along with 209 home runs, 710 RBI, 709 runs scored, and 124 stolen bases. He is also well-regarded for his defense at first base. As a result, he has accumulated 40.3 Wins Above Replacement over eight seasons, according to Baseball Reference.
With Goldschmidt in place, the Cardinals are set at first base for the foreseeable future. Though Goldschmidt got off to a slow start last season, carrying an OPS barely above .700 into June, he recovered and finished with a .922 OPS. That two-month blip aside, there’s no reason to think Goldschmidt’s production is about to fall off anytime soon.