Hamilton has had one of the more interesting MLB careers to date, with his drug issues almost ending it prematurely. This is a team that saw potential in him despite his off-field issues and has enjoyed some of its greatest recent success after building the franchise around him.
The loyalty card is not one that is often honored in this age of baseball, but it is something Hamilton should sincerely consider. If Albert Pujols can be persuaded to take the money and run, it seems unlikely that Hamilton couldn't be tempted as well, but it's not as if the Rangers don't have money to give.
Texas hasn't been throwing Los Angeles Angels-type money around recently, but it did acquire Joe Nathan and Yu Darvish just last offseason. This is a team that went to the 2010 and 2011 World Series and made the 2012 postseason. The Rangers are knocking on that door where the World Series trophy is held and have the talent to open it in 2013 if Hamilton rejoins the club.
Even when given an open invitation to bash Hamilton for his personal mistakes during the 2012 season, Rangers owner Nolan Ryan elected to take the high road. ESPN Dallas' Richard Durrett asked the owner if he thought his starting center fielder quit on his club down the stretch, to which Ryan replied:
If he would have gotten a couple of hits in those key situations or if he hadn't dropped that ball in Oakland, would people be saying that? No, they wouldn't be saying that. It didn't look good. But do I think he quit? I have no reason to think he quit.
There will likely need to be a few promises made to get Hamilton back in a Rangers cap for next year, but this team can shell out the money. It also has a whole offseason to retool the pitching staff that still needs help.
Lance Pugmire of the Los Angeles Times believes that Hamilton "has earned a deal in the eight-year, $160 million neighborhood." That seems like a price the Rangers will be forced to offer to get Hamilton back and one that some teams could easily offer more than.
However, the Rangers have a team that is just a few pieces away from winning the World Series in the years to come, and there aren't a whole lot of teams who can say that around MLB. Hamilton can't find a much better situation than the one he currently has in Texas, and if it means taking less money to stay there, he should.
Ryan's team deserves a little bit of a hometown discount considering that Hamilton's best years of baseball were spent with this ballclub. Loyalty may not mean as much as it used to, but loyalty and a fair multimillion-dollar offer should be one that Hamilton agrees to.
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