Immediately after the Rangers' 5-1 loss to the Orioles in the AL Wild Card game, the focus shifted to Josh Hamilton and his impending free agency. The slugger reiterated his desire to stay in Texas and said that he would allow the club to match any offer that is put in front of him. He also took a crack at quantifying his chances of returning and pegged them at 50/50. It's possible that the outfielder knows just as much as we do about where he may wind up.
Typically, someone with a .285/.354/.577 batting line and 43 home runs in their walk year would be a lock for a hefty, long-term deal, but Hamilton's injury history and off-the-field concerns make him a risky signing. He may also have less big market suitors than a free agent of his caliber would expect. The free-spending Dodgers are already set in the outfield with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, and Carl Crawford. The Red Sox have plenty of room to work with thanks to their blockbuster deal with the Dodgers, but all signs point to them exercising caution in this offseason in order to avoid more ill-advised long-term deals. The Cubs expect to spend, but reportedly, spending $150MM+ on one player isn't what they have in mind.
The Rangers know that there's a limit to how much they can budget for the 31-year-old, but they may not have to stretch too far to sign him given his question marks and his fairly limited pool of suitors. When the dust settles, do you see Hamilton in Arlington or elsewhere in 2013?