Josh Hamilton is arguably one of the most naturally gifted players in Baseball today. But his road to being one of the most celebrated and premier players in the league today has been anything but traditional.
A drug tainted past, mixed with a series of debilitating injuries and some very odd slumps to off-set some very hot stretches, have come for many to view Hamilton as an enigma, shrouded in a mystery and wrapped inside a riddle that only 5 seasons under the Rangers has been able to solve. But here Hamilton is now, a far cry from his young number one draft pick self to a grown 31-year-old man who has never played a full season because of injuries and drug abuse.
Early projections trying to estimate just how much Hamilton stands to possibly get currently have tipped the scales at a whopping $175 million for 7 years. Now, bloated contracts like this have become all too commonplace in baseball from your Pujols’ to your Prince Fielders’ and of course Arod’s. The general consensus from these monster deals is that the back-end of the contract will not in anyway live up to the early half of the deal, and that there’s an accepted idea that they’re overpaying for a star’s services.
But if the theory of ‘too much of a good thing’ remains true then feel free to peg Josh Hamilton as that exception to the rule. Even with the reality of Hamilton’s checkered past and injuries staring many team’s right in the face, analysts still try to give Hamilton the ‘overpay protection rule’ when trying to structure out how much he’s worth. Yes, there’s a lot of thirsty teams in MLB that would love to have a player like Josh Hamilton, but how many of them would be willing to bankrupt their teams just for the sake of getting him?
The fact of the matter is that all the teams with deep pockets in baseball don’t have use for him. The Yankees aren’t budging for him, as they’re set and also they’re trying to avoid going over the luxury tax like the plague. The Red Sox are in total shut down rebuild ‘farm harvesting’ mode and they’re not going after any 30 year old vets wanting big contracts anytime soon. The Dodgers just went shopping and have no spots available for Hamilton. Simply put, you can go down the list of teams with money and they have one thing in common: no need for an injury prone 32-year-old center fielder with a sketchy past, and in search for a giant contract.
Don’t get me wrong, Hamilton will get his money, he’s just not getting no where near $175 million and rightly so. Any team worth their salt won’t bite at Hamilton, he’s not the prototypical player that you’d build a team around. Hamilton is a luxury, he works on a team like the Rangers because he’s a surplus to the talent that’s already on the team and he bolsters the offense. Hamilton has done just as much to hurt his chances for a huge contract though more than anything or anyone else though. Hamilton’s odd health excuses to explain his slumps: from blue eyes causing his day time hitting slump, to caffeine causing severe headaches, the guy is flat-out strange…to put it nicely.
But this isn’t a slight to Hamilton. Like I said previously, Hamilton will get a nice contract most likely from the Rangers who adore him, but any hopes of getting anything in excess of $140 million is just not even realistic. So far, the mammoth contract experiment has been somewhat of a bust, as we’re seeing those dreaded ‘back-end’ years play out before our eyes in the case of Arod. Teams would be wise to go conservative especially for a gamble that is Hamilton, and if Hamilton’s feelings are hurt then that’s a personal issue. Surely I’d think he’d understand why teams would approach him with some sense of caution. The curious case of Josh Hamilton is one that becomes more and more perplexing as time goes on.