The season is already over for Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers, much earlier than anyone had anticipated at any point during the season.
Now the speculation about his future will begin. At this point, it seems like with the way things ended, as far as Hamilton’s performance and the booing from the fans, that Hamilton will not be playing his home games in Arlington in 2013. Which prompts immediate speculation as to where he could end up.
The possibility will remain, since Hamilton probably prefers to end up there, but there will be several teams in the running to sign the free agent slugger.
One of those teams may or may not be the Chicago Cubs. The Cubs have money to spend, and are looking for building blocks, but would Hamilton prove to be one? Especially for a team that isn’t really planning on contending until the 2014 or 2015 season.
The disappointing debut for Brett Jackson has left the Cubs once again looking to fill a centerfield vacancy. Having cleared plenty of money last winter, and Alfonso Soriano likely on his way out, there will be plenty of payroll flexibility for this club, but spending it on Hamilton seems unlikely.
Breaking the bank on a 31-year-old slugger, who has had some issues remaining completely healthy (prior to this season) doesn’t seem like the type of move to expect from Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer. Perhaps someone like B.J. Upton could be a real target, if the Cubs wanted to throw down some money.
The far more likely route is that they go with more of a stopgap and give Jackson some extra time in Iowa. That stopgap could either play center or move over to right and have David DeJesus in centerfield, assuming he isn’t traded.
Regardless of how it plays out, it looks like Josh Hamilton in blue pinstripes is a dream that won’t be coming to reality anytime soon for the Chicago Cubs.