update (11:17 am): The Cubs have traded Hamilton to the Cincinnati Reds.
Details at this point are sketchy, but The St. Pete Times is reporting that the Cubs have selected Josh Hamilton in the Rule 5 draft this morning. The Times indicates that the Cubs selected Hamilton in the major league portion of the draft. If true, Hamilton must be on the Cubs major league roster all season or be returned to the Devil Rays after Spring Training.
A former first overall pick, Hamilton is far from being ready for a major league roster and it would surprise us if a team trying to get to the playoffs would waste a bench spot all season on a player that is unlikely to contribute. This may just be a $50,000 shot in the dark for the Cubbies. If recent signings are indication, the Cubs are not going to lose any sleep over $50,000. If Hamilton works out, great..if not, no big deal to them.
We have now confirmed this with Baseball America.
Here are some snippets from an interview with Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton said he was up early to go hunting this morning but had a text message on his phone alerting him that something may be up. He said he wasn’t upset or surprised to be made available.
“I hadn’t been out there the last three years,” said Hamilton, who served two years on a Major League Baseball-imposed drug-related suspension but played briefly at short-season Hudson Valley this season, going 13-for-50. His season there ended early due to a left knee injury, and Hamilton said the knee feels fine, though he said the best indication was when he dragged a deer out of the woods after a successful recent hunt.
“I think (a change of scenery) could help,” Hamilton said. “I’ll be a little nervous because it’s a new group of guys to get to know . . . “
The best tidbit from Hamilton’s interview came when he was asked about jumping from A-ball to the major leagues: “I’m not really concerned. Baseball has never been the problem . . . I’ve been working out, and I can guarantee I will be in the best shape of my life when spring training comes.”
Everything else has been. Here’s hoping Hamilton takes advantage of his opportunity and finally gives us all a look at his prodigious talent.
The Rays had the first pick of the draft and selected Ryan Goleski from the Indians, and immediately traded the pick to the A’s for $100,000. Hamilton was the third pick of the draft.
The Red Sox selected Rays pitcher Nick Debarr with the 20th pick.