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Why wouldn’t the Reds want Billy Hamilton on the playoff roster?

Sep 25, 2013, 11:19 AM EDT

Billy Hamilton Getty Images

Billy Hamilton has had a big impact since debuting for the Reds on September 3, going 13-for-13 stealing bases and at times totally psyching out the other team with his incredible speed. He’s also 6-for-14 (.429) with two doubles in limited action at the plate.

And yet Jeremy Warnemuende of MLB.com writes that the Reds aren’t sure if they’ll even include Hamilton on the playoff roster, with manager Dusty Baker saying:

We still haven’t decided. There’s a lot of variables here and a lot of things we have to decide. I know Billy is the topic of the day, and they’re selling t-shirts up there already. It’s just that, that’s not the focal point of where we’re going. Billy is a possible part for that. …

Who do you delete to take his place? Thing is, Billy, is he ready to handle that pressure? And not only baserunning, which he can probably handle, but is he ready to start a game, or is he ready to come off the bench and get some hits that you might need.

Whatever. There’s just no way it makes sense for the Reds to keep some extra middle reliever or utility man over Hamilton, who has a legitimate chance to change a game in the late innings. He’s a perfect use of the 25th roster spot and it’s hard to imagine Baker and company not coming around to that idea by the time rosters are due.

  1. jm91rs - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:26 AM

    Just heard a Dusty quote 5 minutes ago that if it were up to him Billy is on the roster. That tells me Walt Jocketty is making the decision. There are a ton of pitchers that deserve to be on the roster, so it will be hard to leave some off, but Billy’s played well enough to show he’s not a liability at the plate and can change a game on the base paths.
    Billy will be on the team, I just hope he’s used sparingly so that he’s available in late innings of tight games.

    • pipkin42 - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:13 PM

      Interesting. I thought it was maybe Dusty’s (in)famous reluctance to use young players that might have been getting in the way. Good to know I was wrong.

      • jm91rs - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:40 PM

        My fear is that Dusty’s infamous “I used to play with Hank Aaron” approach will cause him to change his mind. The more the media clamors for Hamilton on the roster, the more Dusty will tell us why someone else deserves that spot.

  2. scoutsaysweitersisabust - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:28 AM

    I have a hard time believing there is NO one on that roster they can’t drop to make room for a game-changer like Hamilton. Even if they only use him to steal a few bases once a game. He seems to be a very valuable weapon, and it’s just silly to keep that weapon locked in the closet during the war.

  3. echech88 - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:31 AM

    I mean why would you want someone who immensely upgrades your outfield defense and has the ability to manufacture a run by himself on the basepaths?

    What good is any of that in October?

    • ptfu - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:18 PM

      Dave Roberts and the Idiots have no idea what you’re talking about :-)

      And while Roberts was really good on the bases, Billy Hamilton is even better. Definitely worthy of a bench spot.

    • sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:47 PM

      Especially when 2/3 of the starting OF is likely to be Ludwick and Choo. Seems like defensive replacements should have a good shot at cracking the roster.

  4. thomas844 - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:42 AM

    At least 4 of the Reds’s victories in September were mostly thanks to Hamilton. I agree, it would be silly to leave him off the playoff roster.

    • paperlions - Sep 25, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      Mostly? Really? I don’t care if he walks and steals 2nd, 3rd, and home to win a 1 nothing game…the guy that held the other team scoreless still deserves most of the credit. Hamilton is certainly valuable, but MOST of the credit for those wins still rests with the rest of the roster that put them in a position in which a single stolen base made a difference.

      • thomas844 - Sep 25, 2013 at 5:06 PM

        That may be true, but one big play can still completely change the outcome of a game despite everything that happened prior. Heck, the famous Dave Roberts steal of second arguably changed the course of the entire 2004 ALCS.

  5. bobulated - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:43 AM

    Too much pressure on Dusty to manage using him correctly?

    • jcmeyer10 - Sep 25, 2013 at 1:18 PM

      He is going to wear out his legs prematurely. Dusty will master another way to ruin a baseball player.

  6. perryt200 - Sep 25, 2013 at 11:50 AM

    As a Cards fan, I hope they leave him off.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      As another Cardinals fan, I hope they leave him off.

      • thomas844 - Sep 25, 2013 at 5:07 PM

        As a Reds fan, I hope they keep him on.

      • stlouis1baseball - Sep 25, 2013 at 5:08 PM

        As a Cardinals fan, I am sure you do.

    • ashlynkat - Sep 25, 2013 at 7:23 PM

      As a Cards, I hope like hell they keep him–especially if he takes a roster spot away from a reliever. It will just give Dusty Baker more ammo to “over manage” and give the game away.

      Hamiliton is exciting but he is no game changer. Robert’s steal in the 2004 ALDS is a single exception in the history of baseball where a pinch runner fundamentally altered the course of playoff game. Yet you could go through the score cards of innumerable games and point to where a key strike out by a reliever kept a game from getting out of hand.

      A pinch runner is essentially a pop gun–you get one shot and it usually is quiet bang. Even the link posted above of Hamiliton’s amazing “pysch out” ability shows how ultimately impotent a pinch runner is. Even “psyching out” Francisco and d’Arnaud, Hamiliton was still left on base when the batter behind him struck out.

      Relief Pitcher 1, Pinch Runner 0

      • pipkin42 - Sep 28, 2013 at 3:55 AM

        Spoken like a guy who spent a lot of time watching TLR.

  7. larrymahnken - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:11 PM

    Team speed, for chrissakes! You get fucking goddamn little fleas on the fucking bases getting picked off, trying to steal getting thrown out, taking runs away from you. You get them big cocksuckers that can hit the fucking ball outta the ballpark and you can’t make any fucking mistakes.

    • atribecalledquestec - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:49 PM

      Thank you, Earl Weaver.

      • larrymahnken - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:00 PM

        I’m frankly baffled that anyone would down-vote that.

    • stlouis1baseball - Sep 25, 2013 at 3:27 PM

      Ahhh…don’t sweat it Larry. Your post was lost on them.

      Just a piece of unsolicited advice:
      Next time use quotations and sign it….”Earl Weaver”

  8. Marty McKee - Sep 25, 2013 at 12:45 PM

    “hard to imagine Baker and company not coming around to that idea”

    Obviously, you haven’t watched many Reds games.

  9. carldispoto - Sep 26, 2013 at 12:30 AM

    I just hope Dusty doesn’t make Hamilton pitch too many innings. He IS only a rookie.

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