The Brewers may be looking to make a bid on arguably the top available free agent this off-season — Josh Hamilton. The former MVP and five-time All-Star center fielder has spent the last five seasons with the Rangers, where he made two back-to-back appearances in the World Series in 2010 and 2011 and hit 142 home runs with a .912 OPS. The 31-year-old has dealt with a variety of injuries over the course of his career and has to be considered something of a question mark in the durability category, but his talent is legitimate, and any offense who adds him figures to benefit significantly.
A team like Milwaukee, who already featured a pretty potent lineup in 2012 even without Hamilton (.762 OPS, second best in the National League), could see their offense reach a new whole new level in the event they were able to sign him. While Hamilton has only played for teams with hitter-friendly parks so far in his career, he’s a major threat wherever he goes (.858 career road OPS), and would not figure to lose any production in Miller Park, a stadium that has historically given batters a slight edge. Hamilton has also handled left-handed pitchers just fine (.280/.327/.480) in his career, so there should be no worries regarding a platoon situation anytime soon.
For the Brewers, who would once again have the luxury of pairing an elite left-handed bat with one of the game’s most elite right-handed bats (Ryan Braun) in the middle of their lineup, this is probably a good fit — for the right contract. Hamilton will not turn 32 until May 21, so he should have several prime level seasons left, and he would obviously be a huge upgrade over Carlos Gomez, the team’s the incumbent center fielder. Depending on how Hamilton’s market develops, however, his asking price and desired contract length may well rise beyond their reach. For a small market team especially, it isn’t wise to invest too much money in a player with the injury history Hamilton has, and that’s not even taking into account the occasional off-field incident he’s been known to get tangled up in.