2013 MLB Free Agency: Every Team's Odds of Signing Josh Hamilton
By all accounts, Josh Hamilton has been the best player in Major League Baseball this season.
The slugger is currently sporting a .339 batting average and leads the league in home runs, runs batted in and slugging percentage.
Any of the 30 MLB teams would give anything to have a player like Hamilton in their lineup.
Following this season, every team will have the opportunity to bid for Hamilton's services based on recent reports that Nolan Ryan will let him test the free agent waters when his contract expires.
If Ryan's statement proves to be true, there will be a massive bidding war for Hamilton this offseason much like the recent Albert Pujols sweepstakes.
Every team has to be interested in signing Hamilton. However, there are some team's with far greater chances than others of snatching the former American League MVP.
30) Pittsburgh Pirates: 0 Percent
When was the last time the Pirates signed a big name free agent?
The correct answer is too long ago to remember.
The Pirates won't be willing to spend the money necessary for acquiring a player like Hamilton, and even if they were it's unlikely Hamilton would want to go to a team that hasn't made the playoffs since 1992.
29) Kansas City Royals: 0 Percent
The Kansas City Royals need much more than one player, even if it is Josh Hamilton, to become a contender in the American League.
The team needs to acquire young talent through the draft instead of going out and signing high profile veterans.
Like the Pirates, the Royals don't like to spend a ton of money on free agents and will not be in the running for Hamilton.
28) San Diego Padres: 0 Percent
No hitter enjoys playing in San Diego.
Petco Park is known for being a hitter's worst nightmare and it's hard to believe that Hamilton would choose to play 81 games a year there.
Combine that with the fact that the Padres have the lowest payroll in baseball and one realizes that there is no way Hamilton will be joining the team.
27) Oakland Athletics: 0 Percent
Signing a player to a contract worth more than $150 million is not exactly Moneyball.
If you've seen the critically-acclaimed film starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill then you know that the Oakland Athletics pride themselves in finding undervalued players and signing them at bargain prices.
By no stretch of the imagination will Josh Hamilton be a bargain.
The Athletics will continue frugally spending their money and not even a free agent like Hamilton will change that.
26) Houston Astros: 0 Percent
The Houston Astros are in a rebuilding phase.
Last year they finished with the league's worst record and are nowhere near a playoff-caliber team.
Hamilton is not going to join a team that can't compete for a postseason berth.
Hamilton would be a good fit for any team, but he's not going to join one that is years away from contending.
25) Tampa Bay Rays: 0 Percent
Josh Hamilton would be a great addition to the Rays.
The team heavily relies on their dominant pitching and could use another powerful bat in the middle of their lineup.
Unfortunately, the Rays don't have the money needed to sign Hamilton.
It also would be nice to see Hamilton go back to the team that drafted him No. 1 overall in 1999. Due to a bevy a personal problems and drug use, Hamilton did not live up to his potential in Tampa Bay, and having him rejoin the team would bring his career full circle.
24) Arizona Diamondbacks: 1 Percent
The Diamondbacks are building a nice young core, and could definitely use another big bat in the middle of their order.
However, the team does have one of the lowest payrolls in baseball and are usually never in the hunt to sign high-profile free agents.
Hamilton could sign with the Diamondbacks, but the chances are very slim.
23) Colorado Rockies: 1 Percent
The Rockies have a very good lineup that would be dominant if they were to add Josh Hamilton.
The team does have Carlos Gonzalez in left field, but Hamilton is versatile enough that he could play any of the three outfield spots.
The problem is that the Rockies just signed Troy Tulowitzki to a 10-year, $157.75 million contract prior to the 2011 season, and will eventually have to pay Gonzalez big money.
The Rockies, who have the ninth lowest payroll, won't be financially able to sign a player the money that Hamilton will demand.
22) Seattle Mariners: 1 Percent
Seattle is not a desirable free agent destination.
The Mariners may be willing to sign Hamilton, but there's very little chance he will join the team.
Due to a serious lack of pop in their lineup, the Mariners have been forced to bat their 38-year-old leadoff hitter in the three hole.
The Mariners could definitely use Hamilton's hitting, but unless they give him an offer he can't refuse, there's no way he'll sign with the team.
21) Los Angeles Dodgers: 1 Percent
The Dodgers play in beautiful Los Angeles and sport the league's best record.
Who wouldn't want to play for them?
Hamilton would certainly be interested in joining the Dodgers, but the team won't be able to afford him.
They just signed Andre Ethier to a five-year, $85 contract, and also gave center fielder Matt Kemp an eight-year, $160 million contract last November.
The team will also have to give big money to last year's National League Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw if they want to keep the 24-year old phenom once he reaches free agency.
The Dodgers would have an amazing outfield with Hamilton, Kemp and Ethier if they were to sign Hamilton this offseason, but the team won't have the cash to win a bidding war.
20) Cleveland Indians: 1 Percent
The Indians don't give lucrative contracts to veteran free agents.
The team instead develops talent and once star players like Manny Ramirez and Jim Thome reach free agency, they leave and sign with big market teams.
The Indians are having a very good season, but are still a young team who will continue building through their youth instead of signing players like Hamilton.
19) Baltimore Orioles: 1 Percent
Like the Indians, the Orioles are a young team having a solid season.
The Orioles have made attempts in the past to give big money to free agents, but most times the player has decided to sign with a bigger market team.
Baltimore may make an offer to Hamilton, but the slugger will most likely pass and sign a more lucrative deal with a more publicized franchise.
18) Toronto Blue Jays: 1 Percent
Sorry Blue Jays fans, but no one wants to play in Toronto.
Well, unless the team over-pays for a player like they did for Vernon Wells and Alex Rios and look how that turned out.
The selling point for Toronto will be that Hamilton and Jose Bautista would be one of the league's deadliest one-two punches.
The Blue Jays like so many other teams will make a play for Hamilton. Unfortunately for them, the star left fielder will pass on their offer.
17) Minnesota Twins: 1 Percent
The Twins just gave a huge contact to catcher Joe Mauer that so far has been a major disappointment.
This team rarely hands out big money, but they decided to do it for the Minnesota kid, and it's coming back to haunt them.
Given that, the team will most likely avoid going after Hamilton. They could certainly use him in their lineup, but the team has been struggling mightily as of late and are in a transitional phase.
16) Cincinnati Reds: 1 Percent
The Reds have Joey Votto and Jay Bruce in the middle of their lineup. The team will most likely look to add pitching this offseason.
The team also just signed Votto to a lucrative deal and will almost certainly not want to sign another player at an equally expensive price.
Hamilton would give the Reds one of the league's best lineups, but will be well out of their price range.
15) New York Mets: 1 Percent
The Mets have been a model of dysfunction over the past decade or so.
The team is in a major rebuilding stage right now and will likely not bring in a player like Hamilton.
However, with the Mets you can't count anything out and there is always a possibility that they will go after Hamilton.
Whether they try to sign Hamilton or not, there's little chance he's joining the Mets.
14) Chicago White Sox: 1 Percent
The White Sox moved on from manager Ozzie Guillen this offseason. They no longer have a manager as the face of their franchise.
The team hasn't been especially active the past few offseasons, but like most teams will show interest in Hamilton.
Frankly, the White Sox simply lack the allure of reeling in a player like Hamilton. They aren't one of the league's most talented teams and they won't be able to pay him the most money.
Unless he desperately want to join the team, Hamilton won't be a member of the White Sox next season.
13) Atlanta Braves: 1 Percent
The Braves seem to be content with developing talent within their system instead of going out and acquiring it.
This strategy has worked very well for the team over the past few decades, and they will likely continue using it.
Obviously they will consider signing Josh Hamilton, but he will prove to be out of their price range because the team won't over pay for the star left fielder.
12) Los Angeles Angels: 1 Percent
The Angels could use another big bat like Hamilton.
Their pitching is tremendous, but it seems as if their offense has been holding them back from being an elite team.
The team just signed Albert Pujols to a $240 million contract, and starting pitcher C.J. Wilson to a $77.5 million deal.
Hamilton will demand huge money and the Angels just spent big money on Pujols and Wilson.
Other teams will be more aggressive than the Angels in their pursuit of Hamilton, which will make it hard for the team to acquire him.
11) Detroit Tigers: 1 Percent
The Tigers are another team that likes to go after veteran talent via trades and free agency.
Miguel Cabrera, Victor Martinez and Prince Fielder, are the last three big name guys they've acquired and given big money to.
The team owes those three players too much money to go after Hamilton. It's hard to believe that they'll be able to have all four of those players on their payroll.
The Hamilton sweepstakes will come down to a bidding war, and the Tigers won't have the means to win that war.
10) Chicago Cubs: 2 Percent
Theo Epstein is no stranger to handing out big contracts.
The former Red Sox general manager is now with the Chicago Cubs, but his aggressiveness will surely stay the same.
The Cubs need a star player to bring interest and success back to the team.
Knowing Epstein, the Cubs will definitely go hard after Hamilton, but the lack of talent on the team may deter him from joining the franchise.
9) Milwaukee Brewers: 2 Percent
The Brewers badly need someone to fill the void left by Prince Fielder.
They need an elite hitter who can protect Ryan Braun in the middle of the order.
Considering the circumstances, Josh Hamilton would be the perfect guy for them to sign.
The only problem is that the Brewers weren't willing to re-sign Fielder, so it's questionable whether they'll go after Hamilton as well.
The team should do everything in their power to sign Hamilton, but they may opt not to.
8) Washington Nationals: 2 Percent
The Nationals may have the most exciting team in all of Major League Baseball.
Bryce Harper and Stephen Strasburg are well worth the price of admission every time they step on the field.
Even with a young team, the Nationals have put together a great season thus far. The team is ready to win now.
Adding Josh Hamilton would make the team's lineup extremely lethal and would take pressure off Harper and Ryan Zimmerman.
The Nationals have shown that they will give big money to free agents as they did with Jayson Werth.
Hamilton is a far better player than Werth and the team should seriously consider bringing him in.
7) Miami Marlins: 3 Percent
The Marlins signed big-name free agents last offseason like Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle.
They were also in on the Albert Pujols sweepstakes and in doing so showed that they are serious about competing in the National League.
Miami is a great location where any free agent would be thrilled to be.
As shown by their activity in last year's free agency period, the Marlins have a new philosophy. Unlike the Florida Marlins, the Miami Marlins are willing to shell out money and sign star players much like Josh Hamilton.
6) San Francisco Giants: 5 Percent
The Giants have been looking to add offense for the past few years now.
Last season it was acquiring Carlos Beltran, who was good but not great.
Hamilton would be great. He'd be a consistently dominant force in their lineup and would make life easier for everybody else.
The Giants are another team with a high payroll. There is no question that they will be in the Hamilton sweepstakes, and have to be viewed as one of the favorites.
5) Philadelphia Phillies: 5 Percent
The Phillies desperately need some offense.
The two stars in the middle of their order, Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, have been dealing with injury issues, and the rest of their lineup is mediocre at best.
With the pitching the team possesses, adding a hitter like Hamilton would make them the easy favorite in the National League.
The Phillies have never been afraid to pay big money to star players, and Hamilton will be no different. The team needs to go all in on the former AL MVP.
4) Boston Red Sox: 5 Percent
Like the Yankees, the Red Sox are always in the running for the league's best free agents.
Boston took it slow last offseason after a string of disappointing signings the previous few years.
The team's outfield has been the weak point of their offense this season. Due to injuries, the team has been forced to start players such as Marlon Byrd, Daniel Nava, and Scott Podsednik far too often.
The Red Sox will likely look to add some offensive firepower at season's end.
Josh Hamilton should be at the top of their list as he will vastly improve the team's weak outfield.
The problem for the Sox is that the team still has Carl Crawford on the books for big money, and although they will likely try to move him, he will be hard to get rid of.
3) St. Louis Cardinals: 10 Percent
The Cardinals surprisingly lost arguably the best player in their franchise's history this past offseason.
Losing Albert Pujols, a player who meant so much to both their team and community, was a devastating blow to the reigning World Series champs.
The Cardinals have never been afraid to spend their money. A few years ago the team paid Matt Holliday big bucks to pair him with Pujols and would be willing to pay Hamilton as well.
Holliday is the Cardinals left fielder so signing Hamilton may seem like a bad fit. However, Hamilton can play both right and center field so changing his position wouldn't be an issue.
The Cardinals will definitely be looking to add another star hitter this offseason to make up for Pujols' absence, and Hamilton would be the perfect fit.
2) New York Yankees: 12 Percent
The Yankees were relatively quiet this offseason.
In a very un-Yankee like move, the team didn't sign any of the big name free agents available.
It's hard to believe that the Yankees will play possum once again this offseason.
The Yankees lineup, while certainly lethal, could use an upgrade in left field where the team is currently starting 40-year-old Raul Ibanez.
With aging players such as Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter towards the top of the team's batting order, the Yankees will certainly look to add another star hitter.
If the Yankees are unable to sign Hamilton, money will not be the issue.
1) Texas Rangers: 40 Percent
It's hard to believe that Hamilton will leave Texas.
Since joining the Rangers in 2008, Hamilton has made the All Star team each season, led the league in batting average and runs batted in and was named league MVP in 2010.
More importantly, Hamilton has found a comfort zone in Texas. After years of battling drug and alcohol related problems, it seems like the highly talented star has completely turned his life around.
The Rangers have made two World Series with Hamilton after years of battling mediocrity.
The fact that Nolan Ryan is willing to let Hamilton reach free agency brings to question the team's desire to retain the slugger.
Still, it would be in the best interest of both the Rangers and Hamilton to come to terms on a long term deal.