5 Reasons Philadelphia Phillies Should Sign Josh Hamilton

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Phillies Should Sign Josh Hamilton

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Howard Smith - US PRESSWIRE

The Philadelphia Phillies ended the 2012 season a disappointing 81-81, never recovering from their slow start. The team ended its streak of five consecutive NL East championships, in the process winning two pennants and a World Series title that saw the first parade down Broad Street for any of the four major sports teams in 25 years.

It’s impossible to list just one reason for why the Phillies came up short – the fact that the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves emerged as serious contenders would have made it tough even if the Phillies had played to the same level that they did in 2011.

The Phillies dealt with a plethora of injuries, never recovering from having lost Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Roy Halladay for significant time. In addition, numerous other players like Cliff Lee, Placido Polanco, Carlos Ruiz, Michael Stutes, and Vance Worley saw time on the disabled list.

The Phillies also traded away key outfielders Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence at the All-Star break, doing so to free up money because the team didn’t expect to be able to re-sign Victorino after ’12 and Pence after ’13. It’s no secret that the team needs offensive help for 2013, and what better player would there be than Josh Hamilton?

Hamilton has been a top-five player in major league baseball since his breakout campaign in 2008, and he’s almost assured of hitting free agency. Hamilton is 31 years old but because of the delay he saw in reaching the big leagues, he still hasn’t officially hit free agency for the first time. The Phillies and their GM Ruben Amaro, Jr. should be calling Texas about Hamilton for many reasons, but namely the following five.

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1. Josh Hamilton is Legit

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Howard Smith - US PRESSWIRE

A free agent of Josh Hamilton’s caliber doesn’t come along every year, and when it’s a position the Philadelphia Phillies need, they would be foolish to not even inquire.

Hamilton has averaged .305/.363/.549 with 28 home runs and 101 RBIs the last five seasons, and no American League outfielder other than Ben Zobrist (who would have thought?) has accounted for a greater WAR during that span. Hamilton is coming off an MVP caliber campaign in which he batted .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBIs while helping the Texas Rangers to their third consecutive playoff appearance.

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2. The Philadelphia Phillies Have the Money

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Howard Smith - US PRESSWIRE

The Philadelphia Phillies have been free spenders for recent years and despite a slew of money committed to six or seven players in 2013, the Phillies have money to go after Josh Hamilton.

Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, Roy Halladay, Cliff Lee, Cole Hamels, and Jonathan Papelbon will combine for about $125 million total, but the Phillies also freed up money by trading away both Shane Victorino and Hunter Pence. If the team chooses to go with a double platoon in the outfield and a cheap option at third base, that’s money that can be used to acquire Hamilton.

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3. The Philadelphia Phillies Need Outfield Help

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Howard Smith - US PRESSWIRE

I’ve been campaigning for the Philadelphia Phillies to do a double outfield platoon in 2013 with Domonic Brown and John Mayberry, Jr. in right field and Darin Ruf and Juan Pierre in left field.

It’s cheap and fairly productive, and it would allow the Phillies to go after a proven player like Josh Hamilton. Realistically, the Phillies wouldn’t be on the hook for more than $3 million total if they go with the aforementioned four players in the corner outfield spots.

That means Hamilton can make $20 million per year through at least 2017.

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4. The Philadelphia Phillies Need Another Bat in the Lineup

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Howard Smith - US PRESSWIRE

If you watched Philadelphia Phillies games down the stretch last year, chances are you didn’t recognize most of the names that started games for the team.

Players like Kevin Frandsen, Erik Kratz, Domonic Brown, John Mayberry, Jr., Darin Ruf, and Michael Martinez were regularly starting games for a Phillies ballclub that just wanted the season to end.

Imagine what Josh Hamilton would do for the lineup. The Phillies would have to split up the three lefties (Ryan Howard, Chase Utley, and Hamilton), but say the team hit Utley second, Hamilton third, and Howard fifth with Carlos Ruiz batting fourth? It’s not conventional, but who cares? Ruiz is a bat you want getting a lot of plate appearances, and that would be a tough lineup regardless of the fact that Ruiz isn’t your prototypical cleanup hitter.

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5. It’s Time to Win Now

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Howard Smith - US PRESSWIRE

The window of opportunity is closing for the Philadelphia Phillies. There’s still a little bit of hope for the team to get another world championship, but if it doesn’t happen soon, it’s going to have to be with an entirely different nucleus of the team.

Ryan Howard will be 33 by the time next season starts. Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins will be 34. Carlos Ruiz will be 34. Roy Halladay will turn 35 in May. Cliff Lee just turned 34.

These players still played a big role on the ’12 team but injuries really derailed their impact. Utley, Ruiz, and Halladay could very well be entering their final years with the team, and who knows how much the others can be counted on?

Sign Josh Hamilton and go for it all.

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