The Boston Red Sox Should be Cautious Pursuing Josh Hamilton

Saturday  September 1st, 2012

Sam Evans: By trading Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez, and Josh Beckett, the Red Sox created a lot of salary cap space for the upcoming season. With outfielder Josh Hamilton set to become a free agent after this year, the Red Sox will definitely have interest in this five-time All Star. It is unclear how much teams will be willing to pay for this troubled slugger, but the Red Sox will be able to make the highest offer on Hamilton if they want to. Should the Red Sox go after Josh Hamilton? Keep reading to find out.

Boston currently has Jacoby Ellsbury as their only outfielder set in stone for next season. With no outfield prospects ready to make an impact next season, the Red Sox will definitely look to free agency for their next outfielder. Melky Cabrera, Shane Victorino, and B.J. Upton are some of the more attractive options out on the market. Cabrera could make sense for Boston, but it is improbable he will get more than a three-year contract.

This season, Josh Hamilton is hitting .293/.358/.583 with thirty-three homers in 130 games. His career wRC+ of 136 rivals that of Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Delgado, and Will Clark, among others. Hamilton’s power/batting average this season is certainly impressive, but according to ESPN’s Hit Tracker, ten of Hamilton’s home runs have been “just enough”. That’s tied for fourth-most in the majors. One has to wonder if Hamilton would put up the same kind of numbers playing away from the hitter’s haven that is the Ballpark in Arlington.

Josh Hamilton has had a rough life off the field which he appears to have taken control over. Hamilton has battled drug and alcohol issues throughout his career, but he seems to have figured things out.  However, Hamilton has slipped up in his drug and alcohol abuse twice, the latest being in February of this year. As with anyone battling through drug and alcohol abuse, it will be very hard for Hamilton to maintain his abstinence from the substances that have plagued his life in the past. Any team that wants to sign Hamilton will likely use his previous substance abuse as a factor to sign him for less money.

If I were running the Red Sox, I would stay away from Hamilton. If the Red Sox have learned anything over the last few years, it’s probably that having players signed to  expensive long-term deals never goes as planned. With Hamilton looking for contract security, the Red Sox should shy away. His injury history and older age scares me. However, what Boston should do is offer Hamilton a three-year, incentive-laden contract. If Hamilton doesn’t want to be one of the highest paid players in the game for three years, then Boston should look at different options.

If the Red Sox do give Hamilton the six or seven-year contract I’m sure he’s searching for, I won’t be surprised. Boston has a ton of money to spend this off-season, and there aren’t too many free agents that are on the level that Hamilton is. Boston could sign Hamilton and still be comfortable in terms of money. However, due to Hamilton’s injury history and what previous aging outfielders getting long-term contracts have taught us, it is best for Boston to stick away from Hamilton.

(* The views and opinions expressed in this report are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of mlbreports.com *)

***Today’s feature was prepared by our Baseball Writer, Sam Evans.  We highly encourage you to leave your comments and feedback at the bottom of the page and share in the discussion with our readers.  You can also follow Sam on Twitter. (@RJA206)***

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About samevans87

I love writing, talking, watching, and playing baseball. I am a baseball writer for MLB Reports and Fish Stripes. "No game in the world is as tidy and dramatically neat as baseball, with cause and effect, crime and punishment, motive and result, so cleanly defined." -Paul Gallic

Posted on September 1, 2012, in The Rest: Everything Baseball and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 9 Comments.

  1. To end the debate of Josh Hamilton…..YES he has delt with his demons and he has a great support group around him including his personal pastor. GOD will place Josh in a place he can thrive and continue his career be it 4,5,6 years

  2. How on earth can anyone say Melky Cabrera is an attractive option?!? The cat is out of the bag. I’d be shocked to see him get more than a 2yr/$10MM offer.

    With regards to Hamilton’s “Just Enough” HRs. Yes he has had 11 of his 39HRs listed in that category. Here are two others: Miguel Cabrera 13 of 35 and Ryan Braun 14 of 37. Hit enough HRs and you’re going to have some JE. Mis-hits for these guys become JE Hrs, whereas for many others.

  3. The economics of the sport have dictated that nowadays if you want to sign a premier free agent, you are going to have to offer them 6+ years. Their agents won’t settle for anything less…and they will receive what they want from someone eventually. Tends to usually be worth it for the first half of the contract…and not so good of a deal after that.

    Just to be frank…I would think that going to Boston would be the WORST thing for Josh Hamilton’s baseball career. Sure, he is guaranteed the money whether he performs on the field or not…but Boston is a party town, infested (or blessed) with hot, drunk, co-eds.

    If you are Nomar Garciaparra, David Ortiz, or even Weasel Boy Pedroia…you can be certain that around every corner there is some drunk college “bro” offering to buy you a drink and offer up his girlfriend as a sacrificial lamb.

    Boston is a FUN place filled with twenty-something debauchery and all the fun that comes with it…Think of it as a New Orleans North…but with more children of priviledge drinking and doing drugs with their parents money and not a care in the world.

    Boston would be a horrible place for Josh Hamilton…temptation around every corner…a great place to be famous and live a rock star lifestyle. A horrible place for an athlete who relies on his body and has the shadow of “relapse” constantly poking him in the shoulder.

  4. I would love to contribute in one way or another if possible. Let me know.

  5. Detroit tigers could use hamilton.

  1. Pingback: ATR: Ask the Reports Answers Your Baseball Questions: Strasburg, Valentine, Rolen to Cooperstown, Josh Hamilton to the Red Sox and More « MLB reports

  2. Pingback: Josh Hamilton Free Agency Rumors: Red Sox Should Be Cautious In Pursuing

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