By HAL McCOY
UNSOLICITED OBSERVATIONS from The Man Cave while watching the baseball winter meetings almost non-stop and wondering if anything significant is going to happen other than rumor-mongering.
—Billy Hamilton will wear Kansas City royal blue next season, The Kansas City Blur.
The Royals signed Hamilton to a one-year $5.2 million deal, laced with incentives worth $1 million. Royals general manager Dayton Moore said his team strikes out too much and the Royals got away from seeking speed and action players.
“And we have one of the biggest outfields in baseball and Billy Hamilton can save us some runs with his defense.”
About those strikeouts, Dayton. In 504 at bats last season Hamilton struck out 132 times and walked only 46 times.
Even though Hamilton couldn’t find first base with GPS and a sherpa most of the time, two NL Central division pitchers, Pittsburgh’s Jameson Taillon and St. Louis’ Adam Wainwright, both tweeted their delight that Hamilton is out of the National League.
Taillon’s tweet: “This is a big day for me! @BillyHamilton, congrats on the deal and good luck in the AL. Hope you love the AL and stay there (and away from facing me) for a long, long time.”
QUOTE: From broadcaster Ralph Kiner: “Two-thirds of the earth is covered by water. The rest is covered by Garry Maddox.” (I’m not so sure Billy Hamilton couldn’t cover the entire earth.)
—So with Billy Hamilton gone, the Cincinnati Reds have a massive hole in center field (but not in the batting order), in addition to their needs for starting pitchers. And Scott Schebler is not the answer for center field.
So what have the Reds done so far as Day Two of the Baseball Winter Meetings conclude in Las Vegas. A center fielder like A.J. Pollock? Nope. A pitcher like J.A. Happ or Dallas Keuchel? Nope.
They claimed relief pitcher Robby Scott off waivers from the Boston Red Sox. The Reds don’t need much relief help and the 29-year-old Scott pitched only 6 2/3 innings last season and gave up 10 hits, six runs and two home runs. But coming from the Red Sox he does have a strong pedigree.
—QUOTE: From former major league first baseman Steve Lyons after he was traded from the Chicago White Sox to the Boston Red Sox: “I have found that every five years a man has to change his Sox.” (Lyons is the same guy who dropped his baseball pants on the field at first in front of God and the first base coach to empty sand from his britches during a game.)
—Despite the fact they still owe him$38 million, the Toronto Blue Jays released shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who missed all of last season. That’s $10 million more than the Reds would owe Homer Bailey if they released him ($23 million for 2019 with a $5 million buyout).
—Some real chutzpah flowed from the mouth of free agent pitcher Adam Ottavino, who last season wore No. 0 on his Colorado Rockies uniform. Appearing on an MLB network podcast, Ottavino said if he faced Babe Ruth he would strike him out every time. Of course he would. The Bambino would be 123-years-old. But here is what the brash relief pitcher said:
“I had an argument with a coach in Triple-A about Babe Ruth’s effectiveness in today’s game,” said Ottavino. “I said, ‘Babe Ruth, with that swing, swinging that bat, I got him hitting .140 with eight homers.’
“He (the coach) was like, ‘Are you nuts? Babe Ruth would hit .370 with 60 homers.’ And I’m like, ‘I would strike Babe Ruth out every time.’
“I’m not trying to disrespect him, you know, rest in peace, you know, shout out to Babe Ruth. But it was a different game. I mean, the guy ate hot dogs and drank beer and did whatever he did. It was just a different game.”
Now there’s a guy with his head screwed on crooked.
QUOTE: From Babe Ruth: “Baseball changes through the years. It gets milder.” (You’re right, Babe, but some guys talk a big game and in my opinion you would have knocked both O’s out of Ottavino’s name.)