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It's going to be very interesting to see what kind of contract offers Josh Hamilton gets this winter. It's hard to argue that he's not the most talented player in baseball right now; he leads the majors with 21 home runs and 57 RBI, and had a four-homer game last month.
However, off-field problems will make teams leery of offering him a fully guaranteed, long-term deal.
Hamilton has severe alcohol and drug addiction issues that kept him on the restricted list for all of 2003, 2004 and 2005. He had an alcoholism relapse over the winter, and one will always wonder whether Hamilton will regress into his old ways at some point. He's also had injury problems that have kept him from playing a full season since 2008.
Then again, all it takes is one team to offer him a large long-term deal, and I think one will.
I think the Dodgers are going to go hard after Hamilton, the best hitter in this year's free-agent class. The Dodgers have money to spend and could use some more offense.
What will be telling is what kind of deal the Rangers offer him; they know Hamilton better than anyone, and if they hesitate to give him a long-term fully guaranteed deal, that should show other interested teams they should be concerned.
I see Hamilton getting either a deal in the range of seven years and $150 million, or an incentive-laden deal that may start at six years, $120 million but could extend to as much as eight years and $200 million, based on the number of games he plays or the number of at-bats he has.
The Rangers and Dodgers will probably be bidding against each other for Hamilton, but I think in the end he'll stay in Texas, where he's comfortable.