12-07-2006, 02:22 PM
Join Date: Jun 2000
Re: Josh Hamilton a Red
December 7, 2006
Hamilton Headlines Active Rule 5
By Chris Kline
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla.--Two days ago, a scout from a National League club alluded to Josh Hamilton as a possible Rule 5 pick.
But even he didn’t sound serious.
“I could see it maybe . . . the tools are still there for the most part,” he said. “But that’s a major gamble--we’re talking serious risk assessment.”
The Reds took that gamble Thursday, as the Cubs chose Hamilton with the third pick in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft and traded the first overall pick in 1999 to Cincinnati for cash considerations.
“We felt like he had the best tools in the draft and he was worth the gamble,” Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said. “There are certain obstacles, obviously. But we wouldn’t have taken him if we felt he couldn’t overcome them, and the upside is still there at his age.”
Hamilton played just 15 games at short-season Hudson Valley last season and was shut down in late July due to knee surgery to remove scar tissue. That surgery was the latest in a litany of injuries that have plagued Hamilton over his career.
But the substance abuse problems were even more glaring. Prior to this season, Hamilton spent all of 2003 on the restricted list, then missed the next two years after being suspended by Major League Baseball for multiple violations of the game’s substance abuse policy.
Hamiton was cleared by MLB to play again in late June, declaring he had been clean since October 2005. When he made his return to the Renegades this past summer, it was the first time Hamilton took the field since 2002.
The Reds did not see Hamilton in the New York-Penn League, but senior director of scouting Chris Buckley followed him through instructional league, and the organization took a shot on him based on the fact that he seemingly has cleaned up his life and--of course--the raw tools.
“Hopefully we can keep him and get him as many at-bats in winter ball as possible,” Krivsky said. “He has some catching up to do and we’re going to do everything we can as an organization to support him. Being the athlete that he is, those guys tend to make better adjustments faster than your average player.
"We hope he looks at this as a fresh start and feels good about himself--which he should--and his career could take off and get headed in the right direction. I know I’m getting ahead of myself a little bit, but we’re just very excited about having him as part of the Cincinnati Reds organization.”
Another excited front office official is Marlins vice president of player personnel Dan Jennings, who scouted and ultimately drafted Hamilton in 1999.
“I like where he is now, and I love what he could still become,” Jennings said. “The upside has always been there, and I know I’ll be rooting for him with this change of scenery and really, the chance to finally prove he can be a major league player.”
Hamilton, who spoke to reporters in a telephone interview, sounded eager for a change of scenery and an opportunity. "I'm not really concerned. Baseball has never been the problem . . . " he said. "I've been working out, and I can guarantee I will be in the best shape of my life when spring training comes."
"Enjoy this Reds fans, you are watching a legend grow up before your very eyes" ... DoogMinAmo on Adam Dunn