CLEVELAND, Ohio (92.3 The Fan) - The Cleveland Indians today announced the signing of outfielder Billy Hamilton to a Minor League contract, with a non-roster invitation to Major League Spring Training camp.
News of an agreement between the Indians and the eight-year veteran broke late Thursday, but the club could not confirm the deal until this week. The team also confirmed Hamilton's passing of a physical.
Hamilton sports a career batting average of .241 with 101 doubles, 36 triples, 22 home runs, 178 RBI and 305 stolen bases in 840 games with the Cincinnati Reds, Kansas City Royals, Atlanta Braves, Chicago Cubs and New York Mets. Known for his great speed even in his days as a young prospect, Hamilton had four consecutive seasons (2014-2017) of 55 or more stolen bases, swiping a career-high 59 in 2017. He finished second in the 2014 N.L. Rookie of the Year vote behind future Mets teammate Jacob deGrom.
Last year, Hamilton signed with the San Francisco Giants in February, but was traded to the Mets in August following the restart. He was claimed off waivers by the Cubs in September after being designated for assignment. In 31 games played last season, Hamilton batted just .125 with ten runs scored and six stolen bases.
Hamilton is a five-time finalist for the Rawlings Gold Glove Award, is second among active players in stolen bases, and in 2017 became the fourth-fastest player since 1900 to reach 200 career steals.