CLEVELAND, Ohio – According to a report by Venezuela-based journalist Daniel Álvarez Montes, the Indians further expanded their outfield mix on Thursday by signing up with veteran outfielder Billy Hamilton.
Montes tweeted that Hamilton and the Indians had signed a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training pending a physical contract. The club are familiar with the move from Hamilton as the 30-year-old made 36 games for the Cubs and Mets last year but previously spent six seasons with Cleveland’s Cincinnati spring training partners (2013-18).
The Indians could not confirm the signature late Thursday.
Early Thursday the club signed former Mariners and Brewers outfielder Ben Gamel invite you to a minor league deal with a spring training session. The moves give Cleveland several options for the field leading into training camp, including Oscar Mercado and Bradley Zimmer in the middle, and Daniel Johnson, Jordan Luplow, Josh Naylor and Jake Bauers on the corners.
The club, signed by ex-twins, hired outfield player Eddie Rosario last week to sign a one-year contract worth $ 8 million.
Hamilton will likely serve as midfield insurance for Mercado, who finished spring training last March with a sore wrist before the COVID pandemic closed camps. Mercado made 60 games in just 34 games in the regular season, hitting 0.128 with an OPS of 0.328.
Hamilton stole at least 56 bases per season from 2014-17 and finished second in the National League’s 2014 Rookie of the Year, elected Jacob deGrom in 2014. In the 2009 draft, Hamilton was the second choice in the second round .260 / .321 / .343 with three home runs and 17 RBI in 119 games as the club’s main midfielder.
Hamilton was number 31 in baseball in 2012 when he stole a record of 155 bases for Class A Macon and slashed .311 / .410 / .420, but failed to maintain any consistency on the plate since 2016, hitting a combined .234 with one .611 OPS for four clubs.
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