MLB Free Agents 2013: Josh Hamilton Must Be Toronto Blue Jays' Top Target

Jon ReidCorrespondent IIOctober 20, 2012

ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 5:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers looks at a camera crews microphone during batting practice before the American League Wild Card game against the /TEAM on October 5, 2012 at the Rangers Ballpark in Arlington, Texas.  (Photo by Cooper Neill/Getty Images)
Cooper Neill/Getty Images

It's been a hot topic in Toronto for a while now—Josh Hamilton joining the Toronto Blue Jays.

Early on, I was among those who was laughing thinking, "No way, there's no chance that the Jays can pick this guy up."

It just seemed unlikely that the Jays could outbid all other teams for his services.

Not to mention, paying exorbitant amounts of money for a free agent hasn't been Alex Anthopoulos' modus operandi since he took over for J.P. Ricciardi.

Logic, however, coupled with the statements of Anthopoulos at his season wrap-up press conference have changed my mind.

Not only may Josh Hamilton be a target for the Toronto Blue Jays, but there is a real possibility that they could land the slugger.

After three consecutive seasons of reaching the playoffs (two of those going all the way to the World Series) only to be ousted in heartbreaking fashion, it's possible that Hamilton is looking to start fresh with a new team.

Where better than Toronto?

I mean the money's there, so that shouldn't be an issue for Hamilton.

Not to mention, he'd be protected by two of the American League's best power bats of the last few years in Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion. And the Jays would be competitors for a playoff spot with him in the lineup.

Furthermore, this move would make sense from the standpoint of the Blue Jays.

Imagine Bautista re-aggravates his wrist. Or he has problems getting his swing back that last well into the regular season thanks to this season's injury.

Having Hamilton and Encarnacion would help alleviate some of the pressure on Bautista and would give the Jays peace of mind knowing that his slow start wouldn't be as costly.

Now, for those of you thinking, "Enough with the bats! The Jays need pitching!"

You're not wrong. The Jays do need pitching. Even with a bounce back year, Romero doesn't have the stuff to be a true ace, while Morrow is injured far too often to be a reliable No. 1 starter.

Unfortunately, free agency isn't exactly the road to take this offseason when it comes to pitching.

The top pitchers on the market are probably going to stay put (whether it be through contract options or their teams paying them ridiculous amounts of money to stick around, like Hiroki Kuroda of the Yankees or Zack Greinke of the Angels).

At this point the likely targets for the Jays are Edwin Jackson and Colby Lewis.

Even those two will probably have the chance to re-sign with their teams who both made the postseason in 2012.

Right now, it might be best to turn to the trade market for an arm (think the Cubs and Matt Garza, or the Marlins and Josh Johnson) and spend the money on a third big bat like Josh Hamilton.