Josh Hamilton at his recent press conference concerning off-the-field issues.
What do the Rangers do about Josh Hamilton next season?
He's a free agent after this year, which means he can sign with any team he wants. He's a hugely popular player for the Rangers. In fact, he's one of the four best players I have ever seen. The other three are Ken Griffey Jr., Barry Bonds and Derek Jeter.
In this day and age, I assume most players are going to be cheaters. It's the only explanation for how a 35-year-old is able to be over-performing at such a high level. In 2001, Barry Bonds hit 73 home runs; 38 of them were faux-mers. When I moved out to San Francisco in 2001, it was incredible to see him hitting all those home runs. Many Giants fans were in denial.
I'm not saying Josh Hamilton is a cheater, though he used drugs that hurt performance.
He is one of the best players I have ever seen for a number of reasons. He's able to stay in there with left-handed pitching. Even though he swings at a lot of low balls, he still drives the ball out plenty. An incredible defender, he will run through a wall for the Rangers. That being said, center field wears him down because he has the body of a 50-year-old.
Years of cocaine and crack usage will do that to a body.
I believe it is in the Rangers' best interests to let him walk. He's going to be a 30-year-old with the body of a 50-year-old. Although he's an awesome player, committing five years and $140 million dollars to a guy with past hard drug problems isn't wise.
If I had to venture a guess, I believe he has four years left in the league before he breaks down. The Texas Rangers' system is loaded with talent, which makes letting him walk a more realistic expectation.
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