TODAY: The deal is official. Hamilton will receive a $4.25MM salary in 2019, with a $1MM buyout on a $7.5MM mutual option, per MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan (via Twitter). Hamilton’s incentives package is based upon plate appearances, beginning with his 325th and maxing out at 550.
YESTERDAY, 7:58pm: Hamilton and the Royals have agreed to the deal, Fancred’s Jon Heyman reports (via Twitter).
11:02am: Saying that Hamilton’s defensive abilities make for a good fit at spacious Kauffman Stadium, Royals GM Dayton Moore confirmed that the club is down the line in talks with the free agent in an interview with MLB Network Radio on Sirius XM (Twitter link).
It’s a $5.25MM deal that includes up to $1MM in available incentives, per Buster Olney of ESPN.com (via Twitter).
9:57am: The Royals are “close” to striking a deal with free agent outfielder Billy Hamilton, according to Jim Bowden of The Athletic (via Twitter). Terms of the prospective agreement are not yet known.
This potential match was reported recently and seems to have continued to progress over recent days. Hamilton, 28, was recently non-tendered by the Reds. He had projected to take home a $5.9MM salary in arbitration, a price tag deemed too steep by his longtime organization.
For the Royals, Hamilton would become the second player added under similar circumstances. The organization just nabbed infielder/outfielder Chris Owings after he was cut loose by the Diamondbacks. It seems the Kansas City club is willing to place some low-priced value bets on younger players whose time ran out with other teams.
Hamilton, certainly, is an interesting asset for any organization. Though the switch-hitter has never done much with the bat, especially against left-handed pitching, he’s an elite defender and baserunner. His skillset could benefit the Royals’ uncertain pitching staff while potentially leaving the team with a marketable mid-season trade piece.
It stands to reason that adding Hamilton would push out one of the Royals’ existing left-handed-hitting outfielders. Unless there’s a taker for the remainder of Alex Gordon’s contract, or the K.C. club does not wish to extend the audition of Brett Phillips, it could be that Brian Goodwin will ultimately be nudged out of the roster picture. The right-handed-hitting Jorge Soler is also a factor in the mix, though he could see time in the DH slot as well.