As MLB‘s winter meetings started today, many are speculating as to the future of Texas Rangers star center fielder Josh Hamilton. The Rangers have made it clear they are not going to break the bank for Hamilton, and it’s been leaked that Hamilton is seeking a deal in the range of seven years, $175 million.
I’m not sure a team will be willing to grant his wishes with all the uncertainty around Hamilton. He’s a great player and one of the top in the league, but his history with drugs and alcohol cause worry for baseball upper management.
So if the Rangers are unable to convince Hamilton to stay at a discount and shorter contract, what is their backup plan? Well, it could be Arizona Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton.
Upton is one of the more underrated talents in the game and would certainly help mitigate the loss of Hamilton. He’s a career .278 hitter with 106 home runs and 352 RBIs in the past five years. The best part about Upton is he is only 25 years old with room for improvement. He was an NL MVP candidate in 2011 when he hit .289 with 31 homers and 88 RBIs.
Upton has been rumored to garner interest from several MLB teams, so the Diamondbacks will certainly have enough suitors to drive up the price. However, the Diamondbacks would most likely want the Rangers to center any package around shortstop Elvis Andrus, which the Rangers could be unwilling to oblige.
One thing is for sure, whoever signs Hamilton will be getting a dominant offensive force. If he can stay out of trouble, he’ll make almost anyone a contender.