The season still has a week to go and then the playoffs, but that doesn’t stop the MLB rumors regarding Josh Hamilton and his impending free agency during the off-season.
The question is, who will be in the game for a player of his quality, price and, let’s be honest, shortcomings in his personal life.
Let’s start with price. The mlb rumors has Hamilton fetching somewhere in the vicinity of $30M a year for his services. In a nation that has a $16T debt right now, no one seems shocked to see the tens of millions numbers being thrown around, but that number alone will narrow the number of clubs who could afford Hamilton tremendously.
Now, with Hamilton, you have to also consider behavior and city when you are discussing acquiring him in your outfield. It is apparent to most baseball people that Hamilton will benefit by playing in a small city or a non-major metropolis area. That will help keep him on the straight and narrow, if you will.
When you combine those two criteria, you end up with very, very few MLB baseball teams in the running. The big market money teams (New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, New York Mets, Los Angeles Dodgers) can certainly afford to pay Hamilton, but they fall into the big city (read tempting) category. Small market teams can’t or won’t shell out the $30M that it will take to get Hamilton.
So all of that makes for an interesting free agency conundrum and makes the Hamilton free agency different from most other high profile free agencies.
It’s not really in the mlb rumors range that the Texas Rangers aim to keep their outfielder right there in Texas. They are one of the few teams that meet the criteria necessary for a successful Hamilton. However, they have never shown a problem with allowing big money talent leave their club because of the money involved.
Another team that could fit the necessary requirements to get Hamilton is the Cincinnati Reds. They are small market, have shown the propensity to spend money recently and there’s the nostalgic factor. They were the ones who brought Hamilton up and worked with him through his major addiction times. They may have an outside shot, if they are interested, and he’s willing to take a little less.
As is the case with all mlb rumors, we will just have to wait and see. But when you are throwing around $30M numbers, it makes for an extra interesting off season free agency period.
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