Billy Hamilton will not be the Giants’ 10th-inning pinch-runner or even their center fielder. After a couple camps and a lot of interest, Hamilton will not appear in a major league game with San Francisco at all.
The Giants traded the lightning-quick outfielder to the Mets on Sunday morning for pitcher Jordan Humphreys, who was recently designated for assignment.
Hamilton, always presumed to be a piece for this year’s Giants even after he struggled to hit in Scottsdale, reported late to Giants camp 2.0 because of a medical issue. He has been building up in Sacramento for the past week, but his legs will not be patrolling the spacious Oracle Park outfield. When the extra-inning, man-on-second rule was established, there was a lot of speculation Hamilton could steal a couple games for the Giants, but keeping a pinch-runner on a roster that will shrink would have been difficult.
Without the lefty Hamilton, there is a little bit less competition for Steven Duggar, who was recently added to the roster and brings a similar skillset. It also shows faith that Mike Yastrzemski can continue handling center.
Humphreys, 24, was a former top prospect with the Mets who had a breakout 2017, when the righty starter pitched to a 1.79 ERA with 83 strikeouts in 80 2/3 Class- and High-A innings.
Tommy John surgery followed, though, and he missed all of 2018 and most of ’19, though he pitched well in the Arizona Fall League last year.
The Mets, who are going all-in for this season while the Giants still focus on the future, could not fit him on the 40-man roster anymore and needed outfield help. Humphreys will be assigned to the alternate camp in Sacramento.