Former #1-overall draft pick Josh Hamilton is now a Cincinnati Red, thanks to the Rule V draft and a trade with the Cubbies:

After he’s endured an extremely long career detour from baseball caused by drugs, alcohol and injuries, can former overall No. 1 pick Josh Hamilton ever reach his potential?

The Reds decided it was worth the risk to find out.

The usually mundane proceedings of Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings took an interesting turn when the Cubs selected Hamilton from Tampa Bay with the third pick of the day. Chicago turned around and dealt the 25-year-old outfielder to the Reds for cash considerations.

Under the Rule 5 provisions, Hamilton must stay on Cincinnati’s 25-man Major League roster for the entire season, or be offered back to Tampa Bay for $25,000.

You’ve all heard of all the problems Hamilton has had, and I guess we’ll see if he has those behind him. GM Wayne Krivsky seems very excited about this.

My thoughts are that this is a high-reward type move, especially if they are bringing Hamilton in with the expectation that he’ll be a backup outfielder. As a backup, he won’t hurt the team any more than Dewayne Wise (last year) or Norris Hopper, and the Reds can cut him loose if he doesn’t work out.

If Hamilton does work out, however…well, his ceiling was pretty high at one time, and his off-the-field problems were the issue rather than a lack of ability.

We’ll see. I’m not necessarily excited about this, but I don’t really have a problem with it either. He’s a backup outfielder, so the impact will likely be minimal either way.

: I see that Bill beat me to the punch by a few minutes, so I’ll just combine his post with mine:

From the USA Today:

By Jimmy Golen, The Associated Press
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Cincinnati Reds worked out a deal to obtain troubled outfielder Josh Hamilton, sending cash to the Chicago Cubs after they picked him from Tampa Bay in the first round of baseball’s winter meeting draft Thursday.
Hamilton was the third overall pick in the draft, after right fielder Ryan Goleski went from Cleveland’s system to the Devil Rays and right-hander Joakim Soria went from San Diego to Kansas City.

Nineteen players were selected off Triple-A rosters, including three by the Philadelphia Phillies. Players chosen in the draft must stay on the 25-man major league roster with their new club all season or be offered back to their old team for $25,000.

Hamilton was given a $3.96 million signing bonus out of high school when the Devil Rays picked him first overall in the 1999 amateur draft. He missed two seasons because of injuries and unspecified personal issues and then two more when he was suspended in February 2004 for violating baseball’s drug policy.

The 25-year-old Hamilton was cleared to begin a comeback in June, but had a setback because of a left knee injury. He said being on a major league roster is a “dream come true” considering where he came from.

“I’ve always known I have the ability to do it. I’ve been practicing, working hard at home. I guarantee I’ll come in in the best shape I’ve been in since I’ve been playing,” Hamilton said.

Reds general manager Wayne Krivsky said he got a scouting report from manager Jerry Narron’s brother, whose kids played against Hamilton in an amateur league in North Carolina.

“We’re real pleased to have him and look forward to seeing him play,” Krivsky said as the winter meetings wound down. “We’ve done a lot of work on this, and tried to move up in the draft.”