Several MLB rumors are saying Zack Greinke is close to signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers, according to several reports, does that mean the door is wide open for a Josh Hamilton return to the Texas Rangers?
Logic would seem to say that with the Rangers losing out on Greinke they will turn their attention to Hamilton and hope to keep one of the best offensive players, when healthy, in the game in their lineup.
It was no secret that the Rangers had their sights set on Greinke and they did everything in their power to bring him to Arlington but the riches of Los Angeles look like they worked their charm on the best free agent pitcher on the market.
The Rangers and Hamilton flirted with each other during the Winter Meetings in Nashville last week but Hamilton left without signing a contract. The Seattle Mariners also courted Hamilton heavily but I don’t think Hamilton desires to play in Seattle, otherwise there would be more movement on that front.
Hamilton has been a bit of an enigma. The talent is there but so are the concerns about Hamilton’s past. Last season, Hamilton suffered a relapse and found himself in a bar and some pictures were leaked. However, Hamilton still remains committed to staying sober and that is a battle that will take place every day for the rest of his life. It wouldn’t matter if Hamilton played in New York, Texas, Milwaukee, Seattle or Saskatchewan, the urge will always be there.
Another concern with Hamilton is how much of a toll the drugs and alcohol has taken on his body. It is well documented that Hamilton has dealt with injuries throughout his career. It is also well documented that drugs, especially the ones Hamilton has admitted to using, take an enormous toll on the body. It is this fact that has kept teams from offering Hamilton the seven-year deal that he desires.
Hamilton will turn 32 next year and will probably only see a five-year offer and the likelihood that Hamilton will still be an elite player by the time he is 37 is small. In fact, it is microscopic and that would go for any player.
However, the Texas Rangers, for as good as they are, need Josh Hamilton. Hamilton has the ability to carry an offense for long stretches. While he also has a habit of disappearing for long stretches as well, he is still the best player in the Rangers’ lineup and still a pitcher’s nightmare.
Any team would be lucky to have a player of Hamilton’s caliber in the middle of their lineup. The key is to find an equal ground for Hamilton and the team he signs with. Right now the Rangers have to be considered the favorite with Greinke off the market. Hamilton is comfortable in Texas and Texas knows Hamilton. The comfort level will go a long way and might take precedence for Hamilton over a few extra dollars.