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Kansas City Royals close to acquiring Billy Hamilton

By
Connor Grott
Former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton holds onto his helmet as he rounds first base for a double in the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on September 2, 2018 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI
Former Cincinnati Reds outfielder Billy Hamilton holds onto his helmet as he rounds first base for a double in the seventh inning against the St. Louis Cardinals on September 2, 2018 at Busch Stadium in St. Louis. Photo by Bill Greenblatt/UPI | License Photo

Dec. 10 (UPI) -- The Kansas City Royals are close to reaching an agreement with free-agent outfielder Billy Hamilton.

Royals general manager Dayton Moore confirmed the team is close to signing Hamilton in an interview on Monday with MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM.

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"We're working toward, hopefully, an agreement with him," Moore said on the show. "It's been no secret. I'm pretty transparent when it comes to certain players, and he fits our ballpark. You have to be able to cover Kauffman Stadium. ... We've got to get an impact center fielder and he can really go get the ball. Hopefully, we can come to an agreement and get that done."

Sources told The Athletic and ESPN that Hamilton and the team are currently working through contract bonuses and a pending physical. The deal is for one year and $5.25 million, with $1 million in incentives.

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Hamilton spent six seasons with the Cincinnati Reds before departing in free agency. He stole 277 bases and hit .245/.298/.333 in his career with the team.

The former Reds outfielder made $4.6 million in 2018 with the club. The team non-tendered Hamilton at the end of November, making him a free agent.

Hamilton's speed and defensive ability could become a valuable asset for the Royals after the departure of outfielder Lorenzo Cain via free agency. Cain signed a five-year, $80 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers on Jan. 26, 2018.

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Hamilton's efficiency as a baserunner has been on display since entering the league. His 264 steals since 2014 are the most in baseball. He also ranks as the fourth-best defensive center fielder in the MLB, according to FanGraphs metrics.

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