Josh Hamilton is officially a free agent. Let the madness begin.
All the crazy speculation soon to follow isn’t that new to the star outfielder. Hamilton has dealt with questions about his future ever since he and the Rangers couldn’t reach a long-term deal before the 2012 season started.
Texas has until November 2nd to make a qualifying offer, or a one-year deal worth the average of the MLB’s top 125 salaries to Hamilton. A team receives a compensatory draft pick if the free agent rejects the offer, which Josh will most certainly do.
The real date to keep an eye on is the following day, November 3rd, which is the first day players can sign with new teams.
Hamilton is the best every day player available in this free agent class, so he should remain unsigned when the winter meetings open in December, according to Gerry Fraley of DallasNews.com.
There is plenty that can happen in that period of time. The Angels came out of nowhere last December to scoop up Albert Pujols, who was the top hitter on the market. Who that mystery team might be this year is still up in the air.
What we think we know so far is this: According to Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com, keep an eye on the Milwaukee Brewers, and don’t expect some of the traditional powers to join in the Hamilton sweepstakes.
“Milwaukee might have a tough time competing financially if one of the major markets become involved. But at least the Yankees, Red Sox, and Dodgers aren’t expected to play here, and the incumbent Rangers aren’t going to make an early offer, so the Brewers’ chances could be better than one might think.”
This whole situation looks familiar to how the Rangers handled C.J. Wilson’s free agency a year ago. The team didn’t make an early offer to Wilson, who was one of the top free agent pitchers, and watched him sign with the Angels after the winter meetings.
Management felt the money was put to better use towards a player like Yu Darvish.
Do the Rangers feel as confident now moving forward without Hamilton? We’ll have to wait and see.