Josh Hamilton: 4 Reasons the Texas Rangers Need to Re-Sign Him
It's been a critical year for Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton as he plays out the final year of his contract.
His future with the Rangers has been in question all season, as contract talks between Hamilton and the team have stalled until the end of the season.
With Hamilton seeking "elite player" money comparable to the salaries of Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder, the Rangers may be reluctant to give the 31-year old a long-term deal.
A critical member of the Rangers team, here are four reasons why the Texas Rangers should re-sign Josh Hamilton.
1. Better with Him Than Without Him
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Sure, the Rangers were still able to hold on in the AL West when Hamilton was slumping in the month of July, hitting only .177 with four home runs.
But they managed to come out of that month with a 9-14 record. Yet they were still considered a scary American League team to face because of their explosive offense.
Over the last two years, the Rangers are 209-145 in games where Hamilton has started, and 44-41 in games he hasn't. In his four years with the team, the Rangers have averaged 88 regular-season wins.
We all know the type of offensive production Hamilton can put up when healthy. Remember, in the first two months of the season, he hit .395 in April and .344 in May.
He is undoubtedly one of the Rangers' best bats, a top-five hitter in the game and arguably the best player on the roster when healthy.
2. Improved Plate Discipline
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One area where many say Hamilton struggles is his plate discipline. With a free-swinging style, Hamilton has registered 131 strikeouts and 51 walks thus far.
Struggling to hit the ball in the month of of June and July, he has re surged in the month of August, hitting .310.
In previous seasons, Hamilton's first swing of an at-bat would determine the rest of the at-bat. If he missed on his first swing, it seemed like he would give up on the rest of the at-bat.
Hamilton has now looked more comfortable at the plate, as he has been seeing more pitches, which translates into better hits and more walks.
Rangers manager Ron Washington has even praised Hamilton, saying, "He's swinging the bat well, and the one thing he is doing very well is when there's RBIs out there, he's not missing very many of them."
With nine multi-hit games in the month of August, as well as 28 RBI, Hamilton looks poised to return back into the player who was putting up monster numbers early in the season.
Hamilton isn't getting any younger, and at age 31, his improved composure and discipline at the plate will help him become effective as he gets older.
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There's no denying the offensive firepower that Hamilton can bring to a team.
His ability to hit home runs and bring runners home is what makes him one of the best in the major leagues. He is currently tied for first in home runs in the majors with 38, and he leads the league in RBI with 114.
Hamilton is not afraid of the spotlight, either, as he showed back in his first playoff appearance back in 2010. In the ALCS game against the Yankees, Hamilton was on fire, as he hit for .350 with four home runs.
He is a one-of-a-kind offensive threat, with the ability to change the momentum of the game with one swing.
With 16 game-tying home runs and three walk-off home runs for his career, Hamilton is a serious threat every time he steps up to the plate.
Let's not forget when he hit four home runs in a single game against the Baltimore Orioles earlier this season.
4. They Can Afford Him
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In 2010, the Rangers signed a lucrative cable deal with Fox Sports Southwest that guaranteed them $3 billion.
USA Today reported the deal back in 2010, which was a 20-year extension worth about $80 million a year. It is the highest TV package for a team that doesn't own its own channel.
With Hamilton's offensive production and his fan appeal, a contract to re-sign him should be offered. In a state where football dominates, Hamilton has made baseball relevant in Texas once again. Fans love him and he is a factor as to why the seats in Arlington are filled.
It may not be in the Rangers' best interest to give Hamilton an ultra-long deal like that of Pujols. However, a short-term, lucrative deal to re-sign Hamilton may be the best option.