Texas Rangers: Why Josh Hamilton Is a More Important Signing Than Zack Greinke
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If you were the Texas Rangers and had a choice between OF Josh Hamilton and SP Zack Greinke, who would you choose? This is the dilemma the Rangers could have in the coming 2012-2013 offseason.
In an ideal world, Texas would be able to re-sign Hamilton and still sign free-agent ace Greinke. The Rangers do have a payroll of about $120.5 million in 2012, and success in the playoffs would bring in more revenue.
Unfortunately, even the additional revenue would leave enough room for only one star.
So, is it more important to have an elite lineup with Hamilton in it or an elite rotation that includes Greinke?
Greinke Would Make the Texas Staff Elite
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It is important to mention that the Rangers have already tried to acquire Zack Greinke once before. T.R.Sullivan of MLB.com reported back in July that Texas was "seriously interested" and wanted a "difference-maker" like Cliff Lee had been in 2010.
The Rangers were outbid, though, by division-rival Los Angeles. The Angels should be satisfied with what they received, as Greinke is 5-2 with a 3.78 ERA. His ERA almost matches his career ERA of 3.79.
If Greinke joined Texas, the Rangers staff would instantly be one of the deepest in baseball. The rotation would include Greinke along with Yu Darvish (14-9), Derek Holland (10-6) and Colby Lewis, who is out due to a torn flexor tendon.
But would he have a bigger impact than Josh Hamilton?
Josh Hamilton Is the Best Hitter Available
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Miguel Cabrera is having a great 2012 season, but Hamilton is not far behind for the title of best hitter.
Hamilton's monster season includes 42 homers, 123 RBI and a .287 batting average. This is a huge improvement from the 25 homers and 94 RBI he had in 2011.
With a lineup that includes Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Michael Young and Mike Napoli, it's hard to imagine Texas would miss Hamilton. Of course, the Rangers would then compare their record with him (209-145), to their record without him (44-41), and realize Hamilton must stay.
But would a vastly-improved pitching rotation make-up for not having Hamilton?
Elite Pitching Staff or Elite Lineup?
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Despite the amazing lineup Texas has outside of Josh Hamilton, the Rangers can make-up for decent pitching with great hitting.
Texas ranked No. 13 in the league with an overall staff ERA of 3.87. The Rangers staff also ranks No. 8 in strikeouts and No. 7 in opponent batting average. Once Colby Lewis returns, he and his 14-10 record from 2011 will further improve the staff.
Then there is the possibility Greinke could cost about $100 million—product of being the best free-agent pitcher. If the 28-year-old pitcher gets this amount, the team will be paying for a guy that has only had one dominant season in his career.
Back in 2009, Greinke went 16-8 with a 2.16 ERA as a member of the Kansas City Royals. Otherwise, he usually finishes with an ERA in the mid-to-high three's.
Hamilton completes what is arguably the most dominant offense in baseball. And there is little proof that Greinke will strike fear into opponents and dominate, like Josh Hamilton currently does.