OK, humor me, hear me out. This may take some dancing around the point or senseless mumbling, but how out of the realm of possibility is it, really? Crazier things have happened … right?
Here’s the details of Hamilton’s deal with Texas, as I understand it. Hamilton signs a one year, minor league deal, for league minimum, with a spring training invite.
In the deal, if Hamilton is not added to the MLB roster by April 1st, 2017, Hamilton can request his release. If he requests release and is granted said release, he becomes a free agent.
Look, I get it. Hamilton isn’t the 2010 version he used to be. He’s had a couple of relapses in his battle against substance abuse. I love Hamilton’s story and his fight to persevere. But, Atlanta isn’t exactly turned off by aging stop-gaps that can still contribute.
See Matt Kemp. Kemp was traded for and came to the Braves a less than average defender, home run hitting, RBI machine, along with about 20 extra pounds of baggage.
Hamilton, I think, still has something left to give. He has a lot to prove; sobriety being one of them. Could he fit into a line-up of Freddie Freeman, Kemp, Dansby Swanson, and Inciarte? We may never know, but I’d like to think so.
Hamilton’s decline is duly noted. It’s not good, I know. Yet, he still holds a career average OBP of .349, OPS of .865, and OPS+ of 129. His last three years are horrid, bringing that average down.
Going from an OPS in 2012 of .930 to a .739 in 2013. An almost 200 point drop in OPS is not good. His power numbers have drastically dropped off. However, sometimes familiarity, change of scenery, and new motivations can help a player rebound.
Matt Kemp was excited to be not only in Atlanta, but also with a team who expressed sincere interest and need for him. With a line up that could use some more pop, especially from the left side, why not take a flier out on Hamilton?
I’ll be the first to run to Nick Markaksis‘s defense. I’ve been a big supporter for him staying in Atlanta, but even I understand he won’t stay after his contract is up or even to the end of this year. He isn’t the long term fix.
Given that, I understand my insane idea for Hamilton is, well, insane. It doesn’t make sense.
Hamilton would be cheaper than Markaksis and a need could arise if some guys on the farm regress. Coming to Atlanta would be the change of scenery and new motivation (coupled with a sense of being wanted) that Hamilton could use to turn his fortune around.
But what of the familiar part of the equation? I have that answer, too. His name, Ron Washington. Atlanta’s new third base coach managed Hamilton for five seasons in Texas, winning two AL pennants.
Washington knows Hamilton better than anyone and can relate to him.
I’m not saying this is ever going to happen, nor is it remotely even close to being rational. Like I said, it is an insane thought. I may need to be committed.
If Coppy has shown us anything, though, it’s that nothing is impossible. He’s also gone against the grain enough times to have us expect the unexpected.