The Cleveland Indians are giving plenty of veteran players a chance to make the Opening Day roster in 2021.
The list of non-roster invitees included veteran outfielder Billy Hamilton, best known for his time with the Cincinnati Reds.
Hamilton was a long-shot to make the team and news dropped Thursday that the organization is now looking to find him a new job.
Terry Francona said that they told Billy Hamilton today that he would not be making their team.
"We'll certainly attempt to help him land somewhere. That's why we did it this quickly."
— Mandy Bell (@MandyBell02) March 11, 2021
Hamilton Not a Fit in Cleveland
This is not terribly surprising news.
Hamilton is now 30 years old and has not been an everyday player since 2018.
He was best known for his base-stealing abilities, but those days are years behind him.
This appeared to be a move where the Indians just wanted to see what he had left.
Releasing him early in March is the right move as he can seek another job.
The veteran was at a disadvantage from the start.
Everyone knows about the logjam of players in the Indians outfield.
Hamilton also had fellow veteran Ben Gamel to compete against as a non-roster player.
There was simply no room and the Indians weren’t going to stash him in the minors at his age.
He can now seek a new job with a team willing to give him another chance.
Hamilton’s Career Thus Far
— Cubs Talk (@NBCSCubs) September 27, 2020
Hamilton has always been an intriguing player because he was never great at the plate.
He was just an elite base-stealer.
The outfielder has a career OPS of only .621 and a career on-base percentage of .296.
His stolen base numbers may have been legendary if he could just get on base at a normal rate.
But kudos to him for sticking around for so long.
Hamilton made his debut in 2013 and finished second in National League Rookie of the Year voting in 2014.
His best career season came in 2016 when he posted a 3.1 WAR with the Reds.
Since that point there has been a steady decline.
Hamilton split 2019 between the Kansas City Royals and Atlanta Braves.
He was on the move once again in 2020 as he started the year with the New York Mets and finished it with the Chicago Cubs.
Spring training is like this every single year.
Veterans get invites to camp and essentially get to show their abilities to every team in the league.
The Indians may have never had a spot for Hamilton, but he was able to work alongside younger players and prospects for a bit of time.
There are clear benefits even if a veteran is only around for a short period of time.
Moving on from Hamilton eliminates one name from the stacked outfield competition.
April is getting closer and more decisions will surely be made in the coming days so the team can formulate a lineup well before Opening Day.