The Milwaukee Brewers‘ 2012 season was a roller-coaster ride from start to finish. The team underperformed basically all season, causing them to move Zack Greinke to the Los Angeles Angels for a package of prospects. But after the Greinke deal, the Brew Crew woke up, making a serious surge towards the NL wild card to only fall short. Going into 2013, the Brewers have to feel they have a solid nucleus to make another run at the postseason, especially if the MLB rumors are true about their interest in Josh Hamilton.
Although I am one of the few people who doesn’t think Hamilton is worth signing to a long-term deal, a pairing between the two could work in Milwaukee for a variety of reasons. First off, Jerry Narron is the Brewers’ bench coach, someone that has worked with Hamilton before and is someone Hamilton trusts, seeing as the two have been linked for 20 years. This is a key factor to watch for this winter because Hamilton needs to feel comfortable in whatever situation he will go to. Secondly, the Brewers have a lot of payroll flexibility in 2013 and beyond.
Milwaukee’s guaranteed payroll for 2013 is $52 million. That is $46 million less than the $98 million they spent last season. What makes Milwaukee’s financial situation even better is they have no dead weight eating up capital. Rickie Weeks, Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez, Yovanni Gallardo and Corey Hart are all signed through 2013 and beyond. Since the main core is locked up at a relatively cheap price, the Brewers can gamble if they want to.
Granted, centerfielder isn’t the only need Milwaukee has–they need to rebuild the bullpen and add some starting pitchers–but Hamilton does fit rather well in Milwaukee. A middle of the order that contains Braun-Hamilton-Hart will win you some ballgames no matter who’s on the bump.
Hamilton’s destination is totally dependent on his market. So if teams are weary of him, the Brewers could make a push with a 5-year, $100 million contract. But if the big market teams jump in the mix, Milwaukee might not have the means to get him signed.
Needless to say, this won’t be the last Josh Hamilton rumor we will hear over the next couple months.