Red Sox: 5 non-tender players to consider in free agency
By Sean Penney
The Red Sox have some five-tool players in their outfield. Hamilton is a one-tool player. Speed, that’s about all he has going for him. Fine, so that speed also makes him a solid defensive center fielder, so I guess that’s two tools.
He’s a career .245 hitter with no power to speak of. His career slugging percentage is a pitiful .333 and he’s never hit more than six homers in a season. Hamilton is looking to slap the ball for a base hit, then use his legs to become a threat on the base paths.
A sub-.300 OBP means he’s not on base very often but he’s dangerous when he does get on. Hamilton stole 50+ bases in four consecutive seasons before dipping to only 34 this year. That’s still more steals than any Red Sox player had.
Hamilton could bring an element to the Red Sox that they don’t have much of on their bench. Eduardo Nunez is perhaps the biggest base stealing threat among the players who aren’t projected to be regulars in the lineup but he didn’t do much running this year after dealing with various injuries. Boston doesn’t use a pinch-runner often but when they do it’s usually backup catcher Blake Swihart. Needless to say, Hamilton would be an upgrade.
Red Sox fans know as well as anyone how valuable speed on the bench can be. Hamilton could fill that Dave Roberts role, while also providing value as a fourth outfielder with his defense. He could even pinch-hit once in a while if the team is in a position where they need someone to drop down a bunt.
None of these players would be a flashy free agent signing. They aren’t going to drastically alter the direction of the team. That doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be on the radar. Each provides a skill set that could be of use and would have a clear role with this team. Considering they should be cheap to sign after their last team gave up on them, these guys may be worth a look.