Josh Hamilton is an outstanding player. I’ve admired his talents from afar since his 28 home run first round in the 2008 home run derby. But the Detroit Tigers do not need to go out and try and sign him.
Imagine a line up that had the names Miguel Cabrera, Prince Fielder, Victor Martinez, and Hamilton all right in the middle. Sounds nice, right? But it’s not what the Tigers need to do, and here’s why:
Huge contract: Remember Fielder? You know, that guy that Mike Ilitch went out and spent $214 million dollars on to bring him here to try and win a World Series? The Tigers already have a top six payroll and adding another 20 million dollar contract on the books would be the worst thing Ilitch and Dave Dombrowski could possibly do. Hamilton is also 31-years-old, he is going to want something close to a Fielder contract. That’s a lot of money to give to a player on the wrong side of 30.
Justin Verlander/Cabrera: In case some of you have forgotten: Verlander and Cabrera don’t have lifetime contracts with the Tigers. They will be free agents in the next five years. If the Tigers sign Hamilton, you can kiss any chance of those two re-signing with the Tigers goodbye. Fielder’s contract is already going to bring enough financial strain on the team in the next five years after his bat starts to become less productive. Hamilton is three years older than Fielder. Imagine when Hamilton is 36 and Prince is 33, how much money the Tigers will be shelling out for two superstars who aren’t as good as they used to be.
Martinez: Hamilton would really give a boost to the Tigers’ line up, but there is someone already waiting in the wings to help out next year: Victor Martinez. It seems like it has been years since Martinez has taken an at bat, but in 2011 he was as good as anyone. Hitting .330 while driving in over a 100 runs. And Martinez has a very affordable contract at only 12 million dollars a year. The Tigers have seen such little production from their 5-9 hitters — but when Martinez returns next year, it will really change that and help the Tigers score runs on a consistent basis.
It didn’t work this year: When Fielder dotted the Is and crossed the Ts in his contract, everyone is the sports media was giving the Tigers the AL Central and asking where they want their World Series trophy. Right now the Chicago White Sox are in first place, and the Tigers find themselves three games back of the central lead with 16 games to go. Although this is not Fielder’s fault, because he has more than done his part. Just because you go out and drop a lot of money on a huge free agent does not guarantee you success. Tigers fans realized this more than ever. If you add Hamilton, and don’t win a World Series, then all you have to show for it is a bunch of bad contracts and a potentially hurt team future.
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