Top 5 Destinations For Josh Hamilton

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Top 5 Teams That Could Land Josh Hamilton

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Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE

Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton will become the No. 1 sought after free agent during the winter meetings later this year. Hamilton is going to have a huge impact no matter what team he plays for, but I am sure if someone were to ask him, he would say he wants to play for a contender.

The Rangers do not seem eager to sign Hamilton to an expensive long-term contract, which means it is very likely he will not be playing in Arlington in 2013. A source inside Texas’ organization had this to say when asked about Hamilton’s return to the team: “Not even if he wants to play here for free next season.”

Hamilton started 2012 on fire as he hit home runs at a rapid pace. Obviously, he slowed down towards the end of the season, and did not appear to be as much of a factor in the last week. This is why many believe the Rangers will not re-sign the slugger and allow him to test free agency.

Hamilton finished the season with a .285 batting average, 43 home runs, 128 RBIs, 31 doubles, 103 runs, 162 strikeouts, and a .577 slugging percentage in 562 plate appearances. For the most part, these numbers are the best of his career (with a few exceptions). However, the 162 strikeouts certainly has to be alarming for whichever team signs him. Not to mention, the fact he is 31 years old will be a factor. The following slides are the top five teams – not including the Rangers – that could sign Hamilton this off-season.

Michael is a MLB and NBA Featured Writer for Rant Sports, but covers topics for various teams in baseball, basketball, and football. Make sure to follow Michael on Twitter @MichaelTerrill and on Facebook.

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#5 Chicago Cubs

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Jennifer Hilderbrand-US PRESSWIRE

The Chicago Cubs definitely have the money to sign Hamilton to a long-term deal, but general manager Theo Epstein has already made it clear the team is all about rebuilding. This means there is no room for using a big chunk of the salary cap on one player, no matter how good that player might be. However, I still would not rule them out.

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#4 Milwaukee Brewers

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Charles LeClaire-US PRESSWIRE

The Milwaukee Brewers will have money to sign Hamilton, but only if he is willing to take a little bit of a pay cut. Hamilton would enjoy Milwaukee because his two best friends are currently the Brewers’ bench and hitting coaches. Jerry Narron and Johnny Narron were neighbors of Hamilton when he was a teenager, and remained close with him ever since. In fact, Hamilton calls Johnny after every game to discuss how he played. Adding Hamilton to Milwaukee’s powerful offense would certainly make the team a contender in 2013.

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#3 Atlanta Braves

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Daniel Shirey-US PRESSWIRE

The Atlanta Braves have deep pockets, and will do whatever it takes to win the division in 2013 so they can avoid the single-elimination Wild Card game. I expect the Braves to be big players in free agency this season, and nothing would be bigger than to sign the No. 1 free agent. However, I am not sure if Atlanta is willing to spend that much money on one player as they are looking to add a veteran pitcher or two.

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#2 New York Yankees

yankees
The Star-Ledger-US PRESSWIRE

The New York Yankees are always players when it comes to the big-time free agents. Although they did not make a splash going after the big names last year, they might make a run at Hamilton only to solidify their spot atop the AL East for years to come. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman has stated the team is getting away from the huge contracts, but something tells me he would make an exception to get Hamilton at the right price.

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#1 Boston Red Sox

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Brad Penner-US PRESSWIRE

The Boston Red Sox is the team I believe will land Hamilton in 2013. Boston has cleared plenty of cap space to sign Hamilton after trading several players away during the trade deadline. Even though the team is wary of signing players to long-term deals after their recent busts, Hamilton could certainly be the exception to the rule. He has consistently put up big numbers over the past few years and does not have the look of a player who is about to slow down.

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