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The 5 Likeliest Destinations For Outfielder Josh Hamilton

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What The 5 Most Likely Destinations Are For Josh Hamilton

Hamilton
Jim Cowsert-US PRESSWIRE

At the moment, it does not look like that the Texas Rangers will be re-signing star outfielder Josh Hamilton after a club official stated, "not even if he wants to play here for free next season."

The statement may have reflected the frustration after the Rangers were not able to win the American League West Division Title and instead wound up playing the Baltimore Orioles at home for the wild card, which ended up in a 5-1 loss. A game in which Hamilton was booed.

“If they don’t receive you in a town, shake the dust off your feet and move to the next,” Hamilton responded.

Hamilton did not look good at the plate going 0-4 with two strikeouts while seeing a total of eight pitches. Also, in a crucial game against the Oakland Athletics he missed a fly ball off the bat of Yoenis Cespedes.

Another issue that popped up late in the season that caused him to miss a few games is an eye issue related to caffeine, and throughout his five years with the Rangers he did miss games due to injury.

He did have another outstanding season at the plate hitting .285 with 160 hits, 103 runs scored, 31 doubles, two triples, 43 home runs and 128 RBI's. Overall, in his five seasons with the team he hit .305, had 771 hits, 156 doubles, 17 triples, 142 home runs and 506 RBI's.

With the fans booing, the statement made by a club official and Hamilton's quote, the question is what teams will be coveting his services?

Here’s a look at five most likely destinations for Hamilton.

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No. 5 New York Yankees

New York
Kyle Terada-US PRESSWIRE

There’s no question that the New York Yankees will have great interest in the services of Josh Hamilton. With an already potent lineup featuring Derek Jeter, Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez and Nick Swisher, acquiring another bat isn’t the biggest concern, adding more pitching is.

Ivan Nova regressed. Phil Hughes struggled. Michael Pineda missed the season after undergoing shoulder surgery. And this meant that C.C. Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda were the two most consistent starting pitchers.

Expect the Yankees to re-sign Kuroda, who only signed a one-year deal with the team, and then go after the likes of Edwin Jackson and Francisco Liriano. If Ervin Santana, Dan Haren or James Shields get bought out that is another possibility.

Possibility of Hamilton signing: 10 percent.

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No. 4 San Francisco Giants

San Francisco
Jason O. Watson-US PRESSWIRE

The San Francisco Giants haven't had a consistent power hitter in the lineup since Barry Bonds. Adding Hamilton would change that, and it means Buster Posey and Pablo Sandoval become even scarier for opposing pitchers. Yet, with Barry Zito, Matt Cain and Tim Lincecum making a combined $62 million in 2013, it isn’t likely the team is going to add another large contract.

Only way to make the signing a possibility is by trading one of the large contracts and with one who has not lived up to the contract signed, one having a horrendous 2012 and one being untouchable, a move being made is unlikely.

Possibility of signing: 25 percent.

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No. 3 Chicago Cubs

Chicago
Rob Grabowski-US PRESSWIRE

Besides Alfonso Soriano and Carlos Marmol, the Chicago Cubs do not have big contracts owed, which allows for the opportunity to offer a large contract to Josh Hamilton, something the Yankees and Giants aren't able to do. Yet, those two teams offer a chance at winning right away.

If during the off-season Soriano gets moved, it opens up the opportunity for other signings and fast-tracking the rebuilding process. Even if it means paying a large percentage of the rest of his contract.

That might be enough to lure Hamilton into signing, and with him in the lineup it will help Anthony Rizzo develop into the hitter that made him one of the best prospects in the MLB.

Probability of signing: 55 percent.

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No. 2 Seattle Mariners

Seattle
Denny Medley-US PRESSWIRE

The Seattle Mariners are a great fit for Hamilton. The only drawback is playing his home games at Safeco Field, which is known for being a pitcher-friendly ballpark. Him being as good of a hitter as he is, that doesn’t present an issue.

He hasn’t hit well at Safeco, though. In 125 at-bats he has a .224 average with 28 hits, five doubles, six home runs and 17 RBI's. However, once he gets consistent at-bats there, that will change.

Having his presence in the lineup will get Dustin Ackley back on track who had a disappointing second season. Justin Smoak will get the opportunity to pick up where he left off at the end of the 2012 season, and Kyle Seager and Jesus Montero get protection.

The Mariners also have the money to afford the signing and keep their ace Felix Hernandez, which will rival the Los Angeles Angels duo of Jered Weaver and Albert Pujols.

Probability of signing: 75 percent.

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No. 1 Boston Red Sox

Boston
Greg M. Cooper-US PRESSWIRE

The Boston Red Sox stunned the baseball world by trading Adrian Gonzalez, Carl Crawford and Josh Beckett, among others, to the Los Angeles Dodgers. As a result it shed those big contracts and gave the team flexibility to go after free agents.

For a team in a big market, there’s no such thing as rebuilding, which is why the move made sense. Hamilton will be penciled in as the everyday left fielder, and with Jacoby Ellsbury in center field, the only question mark would be in right.

Re-signing Cody Ross makes the most sense and bringing back David Ortiz is a must.

With money to spend and Hamilton available it makes perfect sense as he has enjoyed hitting at Fenway Park. In 88 at-bats he has 34 hits, eight doubles, two triples, four home runs, 27 RBI's and a batting average of .386.

In 2012 he hit .545 with two home runs and 11 RBI's in 22 at-bats.

Probability of him signing: 90 percent.