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.
It used to be that the top dog in a team’s baseball operations department was the general manager. That has changed over the past several years with some combination of title inflation, a genuine addition of supervisory layers and, on some level, employe poaching insurance leading to the top dog now being called, usually, a “president of baseball operations.”
Brewers’ general manager David Stearns is the latest to assume that tile, as the club just announced that he has been promoted to Milwaukee’s president of baseball operations. He has also received a contract extension of unknown length.
Not a big shock given how well the Brewers did in 2018, winning the NL Central title and playing in the NLCS. It’s also worth noting — with a nod to that “employee poaching insurance” item above — that Stearns has drawn some interest from other organizations. It’s thus not unfair to see the promotion is both a thanks for a job well done and a means of keeping other teams’ hands off of him, as employees are generally not given permission to interview for lateral moves, but are given permission to interview for promotions.
The Mudville Nine may have wanted to steal him from Milwaukee, but for Stearns to get a promotion from where he is now would require the creation of some other lofty title.