One big name is off the free agent market, but another still remains in Josh Hamilton. Now that the Rangers have officially missed out on signing Zack Greinke, it wouldn’t be surprising if they turned their attention fully to bringing back their star outfielder. CBS Sports writer Jon Heyman sees this development as possible motivation for the Mariners to step in and blow him away with a contract that runs for five or even six years.
While Hamilton is sure to get an impressive annual value in whatever contract he signs, teams have thus far expressed reluctance in handing out more than three years due to the slugger’s continual health concerns and — perhaps — his checkered past. With Seattle making such a point to woo Hamilton away from the Lone Star State, it’s not an unreasonable assumption that they will give in and start tacking on the extra years no other team seems ready to include.
It’s also not unreasonable to assume that Hamilton should be more than capable of providing his usual 4.0 WAR performance in the next several seasons for whomever he ends up signing with, as he’s still about six months shy of his 32nd birthday — several prime seasons may still be ahead of him.
However, he’s not likely to get less injury prone as he ages; in fact, the opposite is true, and aside from the one truly otherworldly season in 2010, Hamilton has never put together up numbers that rank him among the elite hitters in baseball. He’s a talented player to be certain, but I think there’s a lot of merit to exercising caution when it comes to signing him, and while the Mariners are in desperate need of offense, putting together a massive deal that stretches out through the 2018 season may be a little on the hasty side.