August 2, 2020 | 11:49am | Updated August 2, 2020 | 1:28pm
Last August, the Mets passed on Billy Hamilton and he haunted them with a game-winning hit in a crushing 14-inning loss. Now, they’re hoping the speedy center fielder can help them.
On Sunday, the Mets acquired the 29-year-old Hamilton from the Giants in exchange for designated-for-assignment pitching prospect Jordan Humphreys, a deal that adds needed speed and defense to their 30-man roster. With Jake Marisnick on the Injured List with a hamstring injury, the Mets were in need of an elite defender in center field to spell Brandon Nimmo late in games.
Hamilton split 2019 between the Royals and Braves, stealing 22 bases in 119 total games. He also had the game-winning hit in a 2-1 Braves victory over the Mets on Aug. 23 that led to a series sweep after the Mets had won five straight games to get themselves into the NL wild card mix.
“I had a great year in 2018 and I tell everyone – they’re like, ‘what happened, what happened, what was the difference?’ – Billy was my center fielder. He caught everything. He robbed the homers. Anything that I gave up that was hard hit to the outfield, Billy was there diving for,” Mets reliever Jared Hughes, who played with Hamilton in Cincinnati, said over Zoom on Sunday before the Mets faced the Braves. “The guy is incredible, and he’s got tons of energy. He’s a good influence in the clubhouse. Everybody loves him.”
From 2013-18 with the Reds, Hamilton stole 277 bases in 690 games, eclipsing 56 steals in four straight seasons from 2014-17. Since he debuted in 2013, Hamilton’s 72 defensive runs saved ranks second among all center fielders.
Humphreys, 24, an 18th-round pick of the Mets in the 2015 draft, was designated for assignment on Wednesday. He underwent Tommy John surgery late in 2017 and made just two starts the la