Every day there are three things, here are those three things.
1) Could the Reds trade Billy Hamilton? Yes. They could. Maybe they will. Perhaps they won't. Maybe they should. But when you ask if the Reds could trade Billy Hamilton, you're not asking the most interesting question.
The more interesting thing to wonder is what does a player like Billy Hamilton net the Reds in return. Our friend Doug Gray put it best yesterday....
Add to that the fact that Billy Hamilton will make about $5 million in 2018 and likely much more in 2019, and you have a pretty interesting dynamic.
And, more questions.
From a Reds perspective: Has Billy Hamilton's prowess as a hitter plateaued to the point where paying him more than the $2.62 million had made last season represents a poor short-term investment. With Zack Cozart likely gone, how do the Reds - who gave up more runs than team in the sport last year - get better at preventing scoring by losing two defensive stalwarts? If the Reds, as Zach Buchanan reports, would rather not use one of their current outfielders in center, who plays the position, and how do they handle the logjam of Jesse Winker, Adam Duvall, and Scott Schebler for three spots?
From a Giants perspective: You'll get Billy Hamilton's wondrous defense, which would be majestic in spacious AT&T Park, but you'll also be getting a poor hitter who's best served hitting as low in the order as possible. You've got a farm system that's pretty bare and let's face it, in the loaded NL West, you're more than just a Billy Hamilton away from contending for the division. How much are you really sending to Cincinnati in return?
These are good questions, none that any of us have the answer to, which makes this particular trade scenario fascinating.
Here's what I do know: We are probably closer to the end of Billy Hamilton's time as a Red than we are the beginning. And if the Reds are going to markedly improve their roster, they're probably going to have to trade a popular player that established himself in Cincinnati. That's going to be painful, even if it's necessary. It's not yet necessary to trade Billy Hamilton, but given that he's reportedly the current Reds player attracting the most interest, dealing Billy might make the most sense.
Even if merely talking about the Reds doing so yields more questions than answers.
2) Cats make progress. Cats can make even more progress. UC played what we'll call a workmanlike game last night against Mississippi State, beating the Bulldogs in a game that never felt like the Bearcats were in jeopardy of losing.
The Bearcats are a work in progress.
Most teams in December are.
I think the coming weeks are a pretty critical stretch for this team, which might seem odd given that they have just one game left in the Xavier/Florida/Miss St./UCLA gauntlet that so many have focused on for months.
I place more value on the coming weeks, because between now and December 31st might represent their best chances of getting better. Really good college basketball teams take advantage of the end of exams and being able to focus primarily on basketball, and there's often large spaces in between games to get things done in practice. The Cats will play in LA on Saturday, then play just two games before league play begins on New Year's Eve. They'll have ten days in between a game against Cleveland State and the American Athletic Conference opener against Memphis.
Which means lots of time to practice and get some things sorted out, like what's up with Jarron Cumberland, like ways to score in the halfcourt that don't involve Gary Clark constantly throwing out of double-teams, like the perfect meshing of Cane Broome's skills and deficiencies and Justin Jenifer's skills and deficiencies, and restoring some of the confidence that was lost at the Cintas Center and in New Jersey.
The Bearcats, despite what some will tell you, do have a very good team. It can still be so much better. That's what these next few weeks are for.
The air has come out of the balloon for a lot of UC fans, and understandably so. A few have mentioned to me that the season is pretty much over. I see three months of games ahead of them and chances for this team to have the kind of season so many of us have envisioned. If they take advantage of these next few weeks, that can still happen.
3) This guy. I love this guy. That is all.
Radio Show: Marvin Lewis, Mike Zimmer, Rick Broering, Jeff Berding, and Richard Skinner all appear today. I'll talk Billy Hamilton, some college hoops, and I'll mention a Bengals coaching candidate that makes sense and will make you mad. Join me today on ESPN1530.
Recommended Link Of The Day: How Darren McFadden Changed Football Forever