Josh Hamilton Expects To Hit Free Agency

SUNDAY: USA Today's Bob Nightengale tweets that Hamilton expects to file for free agency this coming offseason, but says he'll give the Rangers the first crack at signing him. Hamilton would headline a strong free agent market for outfielders that could also include Shane Victorino, Nick Swisher, B.J. Upton, Lance Berkman, and Ichiro Suzuki.

FRIDAY: Josh Hamilton is mere months away from hitting free agency, and it doesn't sound as though he feels compelled to offer the Rangers a hometown discount any time soon. The outfielder suggested today that he intends on earning market value on his next contract, according to MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.

“The Rangers have done a lot of me," Hamilton said. "I have a question. Have I done a lot for the Rangers? I think I have given them everything I’ve got. When it comes down to is, people have to understand this is a business. I love Texas, I love the fans, I love the organization and I love my teammates. But I’m not going to sit here and say I owe the Rangers. I don’t feel I owe the Rangers.”

Extension talks are currently on hold between the Rangers and Hamilton, who had an alcohol-related relapse earlier in the offseason. The 30-year-old will earn $13.75MM in 2012 as part of the two-year deal he signed last winter. Hamilton played in 121 games last year, posting a .298/.346/.536 line with 25 home runs in 538 plate appearances.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


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100 Comments on "Josh Hamilton Expects To Hit Free Agency"


3 years 6 months ago

I can’t help but feel that due to his injury history and his personal demons with drugs and alcohol that he won’t get ‘market value’ from any team. A guy like Hamilton needs to stick with the club that he knows supports him and has proven themselves to be willing to work hard to help him stay clean. This off season I think  proved to everyone that Hamilton on his own will end up regressing back into his addictions and that he needs support to help stay clean.

jacks100
3 years 6 months ago

If he hits free agency, he will get market value.

I’m not saying he doesn’t need help/support staying clean, but that doesn’t have to be in Texas.

3 years 6 months ago

I really don’t think so, the guy has only been able to stay on the field for 130 games twice in his MLB career and has known personal problems. While his talent can’t be ignored, I think teams will offer him contracts knowing that 150 games is pretty much out of the question and that they’ll have to deal with his baggage as well.

Anything over 5/60 is probably too much given the risk that he carries despite his talent being worth so much more.

cubs223425
3 years 6 months ago

I think if you’re going to aim for $12 million/year, then that contract needs 8 years on it. For 5 years, I’d say $80-100 million.

You’re right that he’s only played 130 games twice, but remember he’s only been in the majors for 5 complete seasons. If Jose Reyes can get 6/$106 million with the obvious red flags dangling from his legs, then Josh Hamilton can get 5/$80 million, I would think.

jacks100
3 years 6 months ago

For starters, he’s only been in the league 5 years and has been an all-star for 4 of them. Last year’s shoulder injury was a result of a “creative” call by the 3rd base coach. I think labelling him as “injury-prone” is a bit premature.

Jose Reyes, one of the more injury-prone players in the last 3 years, landed a 6yr / 106MM.
I’m not saying I don’t agree with your logic and that Hamilton is a risk due to his past, but you know someone will pay him big if he hits free agency. 

Jerrymar Torres
3 years 6 months ago

I’m going to have to agree with you, him breaking his arm last season was a bit of a freak accident. I think his off-field issues are going to be the deciding factor if he gets market value or not. I mean you make an excellent point about Reyes having chronic issues with his legs and he landed a pretty sweet deal in Miami.

DK8
3 years 6 months ago

Jose Reyes also had 4 straight years of playing in 153 or more games.  I don’t think the injury issues are all that comparable for the 2.

Jerrymar Torres
3 years 6 months ago

I think that was his point, he’s pointing out a player who is more injury prone still got a nice contract.

jacks100
3 years 6 months ago

Sure, but Reyes’ last 3 season have been injury filled.

His SB totals, although still good, are declining  because his legs are fragile.

But he still lands 6yr / 106MM.

I personally don’t consider Josh Hamilton injury-prone. But if that’s what people want to use as reasoning for him not landing a big deal then look no further than the Jose Reyes contract as proof he will.

3 years 6 months ago

a big thing between Reyes and Hamilton is marketing power.  Miami has a huge latin population, the same with Pujols in So Cal.  Reyes will make the Marlins more money in their demographic than Hamilton will anywhere

jacks100
3 years 6 months ago

Are you questioning Josh Hamilton’s marketing value? Did you watch the derby at Yankee Stadium in 2008?

We’re talking about one of the most naturally talented and exciting players in the game. You could argue that he’s easily the mlb’s most marketable player. Josh Hamilton goes to any team in the mlb and their stock instantly rises. Significantly.

3 years 6 months ago

the Latin market is huge, they spend money, its as simple as that.  Baseball is huge in the Latin culture.  To other cultures, baseball has taken a backseat to other sports.  Who’s gonna buy a Hamilton  jersey?  Outside of Texas not many people.  Hamilton is no way MLB’s most marketable player.  He plays in a second rate location (not NY, Boston, LA, or Chicago) and he has a dark past and has no credibility.  You want a marketable player look at Pujols or Jeter.  They’re both boy scouts, have HOF careers, won numerous awards, and have won a World Series

jacks100
3 years 6 months ago

I think you’re missing the point. This discussion is based on the premise that Josh Hamilton hits free agency, thus eliminating your point about him playing in a second rate location (very debatable, but i’ll let it slide).

Thank you for pointing out that the Latin market is huge and they love baseball.

“To other cultures, baseball has taken a backseat to other sports.” That’s an absurd generalization and is simply uneducated.

I also don’t quite understand how citing Derek Jeter ties in with your Latin America point.

Look, we know Jose Reyes is marketable. We know Albert Pujols is marketable. We know Derek Jeter is marketable. Josh Hamilton is very marketable too and, going back to how this debate all started, he will see a big pay day if he hits free agency.

3 years 6 months ago

I’m not debating he will get a big payday.  My point is there is more to it than just what he does on the field.  
  Also if you look at the research baseball falls behind football and basketball in terms of popularity in the US.  I don’t know how that data is “uneducated”. Baseball is too slow for alot of people who prefer more fast paced sports.

3 years 6 months ago

This comment is sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo narrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrroooooooooooooooowwwwwwww

jacks100
3 years 6 months ago

I think you’re missing the point. This discussion is based on the premise that Josh Hamilton hits free agency, thus eliminating your point about him playing in a second rate location (very debatable, but i’ll let it slide).

Thank you for pointing out that the Latin market is huge and they love baseball.

“To other cultures, baseball has taken a backseat to other sports.” That’s an absurd generalization and is simply uneducated.

I also don’t quite understand how citing Derek Jeter ties in with your Latin America point.

Look, we know Jose Reyes is marketable. We know Albert Pujols is marketable. We know Derek Jeter is marketable. Josh Hamilton is very marketable too and, going back to how this debate all started, he will see a big pay day if he hits free agency.

3 years 6 months ago

I disagree.  Hamilton is a tremendously marketable player regardless of where he plays.  He is a fan favorite and has the “feel-good” story that people can relate to, because a lot of people have been there. 

Plus, there is no way to quantify it and thus no way to say that it is a “big thing”.  Reyes invigorating the latin community into loving the Marlins was a popular line in enticing him and Ozzie Guillen to go there, but the new stadium will do more to bring in fans than one player will.

3 years 6 months ago

he was a “feel-good” player in 2008.  after a few relapses, not so much.  he starts to fall in the Dwight Gooden/ Darryl Strawberry category…

BoSox78
3 years 6 months ago

He’s a better JD Drew with a drinking/drug problem. Theo will overpay him next winter.. 

3 years 6 months ago

Given Werth got more than twice that, I just don’t see a situation where NOONE is willing to pay alot for Hamilton.  Hamilton won an MPV despite on playing 133 games.  He won’t have the biggest contract ever, but I would bet Hamilton will command 9 figures.  Hamilton, like him or not commands fear from opposing pitchers and coaches.  Werth, not nearly as much.

The Reyes points are right as well.  Speed-driven player has a series of non-freak leg injuries.  Lands 9-figure contract anyway.  Hamilton broke a bone in a play at the plate, bruised his ribs crashing into the outfield wall and had a slight abdominal tear due to a different time crashing into the outfield wall.  That’s not like a pitcher having 3 shoulder/elbow injuries in 3 years or a speed guy having hamstring issues repeatedly for 3 years.  They pretty much define “freak injury”.

3 years 6 months ago

The difference with Werth and Hamilton is that Werth was A: healthy and B: saw his numbers going up every year over the past three seasons before he signed with the Nats. Also, Werth’s contract was widely paned as being horrible and if the Nat’s hadn’t been desperate to get a star name, he wouldn’t have received that kind of money.

I just can imagine any MLB exec seeing Hamilton’s track record and thinking, “Wow, this guy is fantastic” but then looking back on his personal problems and not being able to stay on the field consistently and then see that he’ll be 32 a month after opening day, an age at which many MLB players start to decline and become more injury prone and decide that the risk involved isn’t worth the big bucks or the long commitment.

LazerTown
3 years 6 months ago

Someone will overpay.  He has the talent but like most deals the team is too optimistic and doesnt look at the history.   Logically 5/60 may be risky, but some gm will overpay.  Case: Jayson Werth finished up in philly with 2 career years and is not getting 18 aav.  Hamilton will probably get that kind of money unless he is injured all year.

3 years 6 months ago

Isn’t that precisely the definition of “market value”??

dwarfcatt
3 years 6 months ago

I assume the quote was actually “the Rangers have done a lot FOR me”

baumann
3 years 6 months ago

I was wondering if English was his first language, actually. Or, there are several typos . . .

bjsguess
3 years 6 months ago

ESPN is reporting exactly the same as MLBTradeRumors.

cubs223425
3 years 6 months ago

I agree with him, to an extent. HeE is right that the game is very much a business, and you VERY rarely see teams going out on a limb to take a massive overpay to keep a player. That became even more obvious after the Cardinals let Albert Pujols walk.

You always see teams asking for “hometown discounts,” but I think Joe Mauer might be the only case where a team overpaid to keep someone. You didn’t see the Padres offering up market-value money for Gonzalez, choosing instead to trade him instead.

Players are always the losers in this business. They’re the human aspect of the game, the ones who are more emotionally attached to a fan base. Fans don’t wear the jerseys of the front office guys, they wear them of the players. So when a player leaves, fans react negatively. When a front office lets a player walk, fans still blame the player and say managment made the right call.

It’s really a no-win situation for the players. They either sell themselves short, in terms of money, or they get crapped on by former teams’ fans for leaving.

notsureifsrs
3 years 6 months ago

i agree – with the caveat that it’s actually a no-lose situation for millionaires playing baseball

also if GMs had jerseys anthopolous might be the top seller in toronto

cubs223425
3 years 6 months ago

Yeah, they’re millionaires all the same, but when the market says “$20 million,” and ownership says “$14 million,” you’re still getting screwed over a bit.

3 years 6 months ago

I’ll weep for all of those guys driving their fancy cars, living in their fancy houses all because they happen to be good at a game.

3 years 6 months ago

You could always have a custom one made.

Lunchbox45
3 years 6 months ago

judging by some of the comments on mlbtr, I’ actually shocked that I havent seen one yet

3 years 6 months ago

Wait ’til I get my Jon Daniels #99.9 jersey. It’ll go great with my Mark Cuban Mavs jersey with the dollar sign. 😛

bjsguess
3 years 6 months ago

Really?

Ownership gets ripped if they have a payroll under $100m and try to make a few bucks. While fans may not wear jersey’s of GM’s just look at the impact a guy like Epstein had in Boston and their fan base. When I hear people talk about the Jays it is pretty evenly split between Bautista and AA. Management has a profound impact on the success of an organization.

Organizations take risks all of the time with their home grown talent. Most don’t pan out. People forget that the millions in bad contracts handed out every year are a far cry from a guarantee of performance and playing time.

cubs223425
3 years 6 months ago

Yeah, the millions in bad contracts are making those teams destitute. The Cubs have been losing BADLY for 3 years now, and they’ve had MILLIONS of dollars in failed contracts, yet you don’t hear them going out and trying to declare bankruptcy, do you?

They throw millions away on bad deals every year because they can afford do. They get guys like Mike Stanton and Matt Moore for about $1.5 million total over 3 years, plus another 3 years of below-market cost. They waste millions, but they’re gifted cheap, top-talent players as well.

In the end, the league is a highly-profitable business.

monkeydung
3 years 6 months ago

i have a terrible feeling that he ends up with some bogus 7 year contract with the dodgers

rundmc1981
3 years 6 months ago

Yes…LA is exactly the place he needs to be…because LA has swallowed up stronger people than Josh Hamilton.

3 years 6 months ago

I was actually concerned about Ned Colletti being GM driving him to the drink. It’s happened to other dodger fans.

Lunchbox45
3 years 6 months ago

After reading his book I have so much more respec for this guy.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, most naturally talented player in baseball today. 

johnsilver
3 years 6 months ago

I am not so sure that mega pay day is going to exist out there in his case that he is banking on, or at least on a contending team that FA generally flock to.

He could get 5 years or so, but it’s not going to be with a team that is going to be considered generally a 1st tier team, or one most players have qualms about heading to and I think he should possibly think how much Arlington stadium plays up to his abilities before he considers leaving for those greener pastures that may be brown once he becomes a FA.

Lunchbox45
3 years 6 months ago

I too believe he wont get a lengthy deal , but thats okay I think..
After what he’s been through I would hope he wouldnt be so greedy in terms of going out there and just trying to get the best deal possible.  Its got to be a good fit, and hopefully he is able to stay in Texas.

TophersReds
3 years 6 months ago

Oh if the Reds didnt trade him for Volquez… Votto, Hamilton, Phillips, and Bruce…. Oh my. I guess you win some and you lose some. Hopefully the Rangers offer him something that he finds suitable.

monroe_says
monroe_says
3 years 6 months ago

 I’m glad he’s gone from Cincy – another “Faith Day with Josh Hamilton” and I would have had to find another team to root for.

rundmc1981
3 years 6 months ago

Interesting timing in light of all the patience/respect they’ve shown with him. TEX has never, to my knowledge, indicated they want a hometown discount. And considering they didn’t go after Prince/Pujols, they should have the money available. 

However, considering his injuries and at times, questionable personal life, those concerns carry dollar values. Pujols got paid so much in part because of his spotless record on/off the field (he’ll have a LAA front office job, as part of the contract, when his contract as a player is done).

3 years 6 months ago

“Interesting timing in light of all the patience/respect they’ve shown with him.”
———–
This statement is so overblown.

The timing is not interesting, a reporter probably asked him point blank if he would consider a hometown discount.  Thus, he answered the question (that every impending free agent gets asked) in the same manner that everyone else answers it with. 

He doesn’t owe them anything to take lower than what others are offering.  He has repaid them a thousand times over for the tiny insignificant risk they took in 2009.

3 years 6 months ago

“Interesting timing in light of all the patience/respect they’ve shown with him.”
———–
This statement is so overblown.

The timing is not interesting, a reporter probably asked him point blank if he would consider a hometown discount.  Thus, he answered the question (that every impending free agent gets asked) in the same manner that everyone else answers it with. 

He doesn’t owe them anything to take lower than what others are offering.  He has repaid them a thousand times over for the tiny insignificant risk they took in 2009.

dskirsa
3 years 6 months ago

I think he’s spot on and don’t think his past “troubles” with drugs/alcohol will prevent him from getting market value.  Teams won’t have a problem as long as he has sober coach.  Any contract could always include some sort of out-clause for any issues with drugs/alcohol that cause on-field issues (though I can’t see a good agent allowing that and the union probably wouldn’t like it). 

The Tigers didn’t hesitate getting a coach for Cabrera and I imagine other teams would do the same.  Teams will look at Hamilton as worth the risk.

dskirsa
3 years 6 months ago

This was supposed to be in reply to Derek Carter…

I would think his injuries would cause more problems than personal stuff, but then again…Reyes…

CHendershott
3 years 6 months ago

As a White Sox fan with not a lot to be excited about I’ve kind of been following the Rangers this season. It seems to me that part of the reason they didn’t really go for Fielder is because they’ve got Hamilton and Cruz coming off the books, which will leave them space to work out extensions for their core, and then after 2013 they can go after Votto. I’m hoping that’s the case at least, because Joey is a better investment than both Hamilton and Fielder… no injury history to speak of, good defensively, left-handed bat. The Rangers can afford what will likely be a mega pay day with the new TV deal and move Moreland to the outfield when Hamilton walks, which is what it looks like will happen.

Josh seems to think the Rangers owe him something based on this article. He’s right about one thing… it is a business. And teams can’t afford to commit a ton of money to people who can’t play for whole seasons and have a slew of well documented and very public personal problems. He’ll get his payday, that’s for sure. Wherever he ends up, he will owe it to the Rangers because they are the ones who gave him a chance. He sure gave them everything he’s got, but he has also relapsed twice, and that’s just the ones that have been in public.

As an outside observer, I think Josh says bye bye because he insists on overvaluing himself. If wants to ignore the reason why the Rangers would offer him less money, he’ll go play for someone who has no problem giving bad contracts to players with issues. Paging Kenny Williams.

eyeglass1
3 years 6 months ago

No G.M. is just going to throw him a long term deal. He may get a three year deal, but no way with his injuries and off the field issues you would want to invest in him long term. He plays hard, and maybe, the hard life he had lived is catching up to his body somehow. And, a smart G.M., no matter what you think of them, will be dumb enough not to use his past as negatives against Hamilton and his assumed value. So, if he can average 3/4 of your teams games, then logically, the contract should resemble that assumption.

Mike
3 years 6 months ago

I think he’s made the Rangers relevant. For a long time they were talented but not winners. He and Ryan changed the face of the Rangers

3 years 6 months ago

Winning the division and in the postseason has made the Rangers relevant. Hamilton is one of many talented ballplayers on the club.

Kurisu Rg
3 years 6 months ago

 He and Ryan are part of the reason. But there’s no Josh Hamilton without Jon Daniels trading for him. To me, JD and the super-smart people he surrounded himself with (Preller, Levine, etc), are more responsible for the Rangers overhaul. From “when we gon’ get sum pitchin’!?” to back-to-back AL championships (aka “Roasted Rally Monkey is delicious”)

Kurisu Rg
3 years 6 months ago

 He and Ryan are part of the reason. But there’s no Josh Hamilton without Jon Daniels trading for him. To me, JD and the super-smart people he surrounded himself with (Preller, Levine, etc), are more responsible for the Rangers overhaul. From “when we gon’ get sum pitchin’!?” to back-to-back AL championships (aka “Roasted Rally Monkey is delicious”)

3 years 6 months ago

Dear Ranger front office – Do not take him to a restaurant or bar to discuss the contract. 

Chillin_in_California
3 years 6 months ago

I could see Hamilton getting a 5y 90m contract when he hits FA. Somebody will be desperate

MadmanTX
3 years 6 months ago

Somebody (ie Yankees) will even be willing to overpay for Josh Hamilton. I agree with him that this is a business–even if Michael Young didn’t realize that last spring. However, it would have been tactful if Josh had recognized that the Rangers organization is not only treating him better than its other players, but has gone above and beyond understanding with his “little” slip-ups. 

3 years 6 months ago

You’re not serious.  It would be “tactful” for him to remember them going “above and beyond understanding”?  And why in the world is “little” in quotes?  Are you implying they are more serious than they are?  Do you realize how your comment sounds to literally every single non-Ranger fan around?

In 2008 he made less than $400k and had an .901 OPS with 32 HR and 130 RBI.  In 2009 he made $550k when he had his first little (yes, little) slip-up.  So let me see if I understand you right: You are saying that the Rangers went above and beyond by not cutting the All-Star Caliber, MVP candidate who was at the age of 28 and making $550,000.  Please re-read that. 

They had no choice.  If they cut him, he goes to any of the 29 other teams because they all call him immediately.  Any team gives him what he needs in off the field help because he had just had a frickin .901 OPS season and would be cheap.  At that point the Rangers are the team who quits on their players despite the smallest of things, even when it is potentially one of the best hitting players at his position in the entire league.

You know what would be “tactful”?  If the Rangers (or moreso the fanbase) remembered how Hamilton gave them 17.5 WAR while he has been here while making less than $13 million the whole time.  Including an MVP season while making $3.25 million.  Josh is 100% right.  The Rangers had almost NO risk keeping him in 2009 and he repaid them a thousand-fold.

slider32
3 years 6 months ago

I would think the Rangers have a conundrum with John Hamilton. Daniels has had many sleepless nights thinking about this one.

optionn
3 years 6 months ago

I’d let him walk.  Great player,  but age and injuries will ruin his performance down the line.

jacks100
3 years 6 months ago

29 teams will thank you.

Lunchbox45
3 years 6 months ago

“age and injuries will ruin his performance down the line”

as opposed to every other player, EVER

Kurisu Rg
3 years 6 months ago

Not all other players share Josh’s demons. From his personal issues to his inability to stay healthy for a full season, Josh Hamilton is one of the riskiest players to give a huge contract.
I’m a Rangers fan and I love everything Josh has done for my team. But, like he says, “this is a business”, and giving more than $20 million for more tan five years to a player like him is very unwise. That’s why I won’t feel bad when he leaves for the biggest contract he can get. And I’m sure there is another irresponsible Mike Ilitch out there willing to throw crazy insane money at Josh.

optionn
3 years 6 months ago

I’d let him walk.  Great player,  but age and injuries will ruin his performance down the line.

dc21892
3 years 6 months ago

Why are so many people saying he won’t get paid? His talent is clear. A short, big money deal might be the route teams are willing to go. Anyways, if he hits the market, I’m saying he gets paid big.

3 years 6 months ago

I agree. Some team will overpay. Hope the Cardinals go after him (heard they were interested), but not overpay him .

sam_lammert
3 years 6 months ago

i agree, i would love them to go after him, but in all honesty, which team wouldn’t at least be interested? i dont think we will have any chance at getting him

Andrew Steven
3 years 6 months ago

Agreed…He will get paid.

3 years 6 months ago

I wouldn’t be so sure though—alcoholism aside, his bigger issue is staying healthy. This could be a big gamble for Josh Hamilton. He has not played more than 133 games in a season since 2008, and missed significant time in 2009 and 2011 because of injuries.

jrawnsley
3 years 6 months ago

He’s right. He doesn’t owe the Rangers, he owes the Rays. They stuck with him through his hard times & he certainly didn’t give his all then.

slider32
3 years 6 months ago

That’s not fair, alcholism and drugs are diseases.

FS54
3 years 6 months ago

What? you are serious?

slider32
3 years 6 months ago

That’s not fair, alcholism and drugs are diseases.

eyeglass1
3 years 6 months ago

he really owe’s the Reds for giving him the chance before he was traded to the Rangers.

slider32
3 years 6 months ago

Hamilton might be a good fit for the Nats or the Marlins. He would put them in contention.