As CBSSports Baseball Insider John Heyman reports, the Brewers are seriously thinking about making a run at Hamilton.
Several factors will go into the potential of Hamilton actually ending up in Milwaukee, but in what may be a surprise to many, it is a quite realistic option. In fact, the Brewers could be considered one of the favorites by the end of this proverbial race.
In considering the possible destinations of a big-name MLB free agent, the contract always becomes a factor as some teams just can't keep up in that area.
Not only do the Brewers have the ability to keep up, but as Heyman reported in the previous article, many of the league's highest payroll teams are not expected to get involved in the bidding.
In his last season with the Brewers in 2011, Prince Fielder signed a one-year $15.5 million deal to stay with the club and avoid arbitration. Evidently, while Milwaukee may not have a New York-, Boston- or Los Angeles-size payroll, they will pay the money when they deem it necessary.
While he is certain to garner a massive long-term deal, for a player of Hamilton's caliber and what he would add to this team, it could very well be deemed necessary.
A key and quite underrated component in a free agent agreeing to sign on with a new club, in virtually any of the major sports, is the presence of known coaches and/or players. As Heyman reported, one of the biggest factors in a possible Josh Hamilton signing in Milwaukee could be the presence of hitting coach Johnny Narron.
The Brewers believe Milwaukee is a viable market for Hamilton, and it doesn't hurt that their hitting coach is Johnny Narron, who is very close to Hamilton from their days together in Cincinnati and Texas. Narron was Hamilton's original "life coach'' with the Reds and Rangers. In Texas, he generally thrived and is credited for having only two relapses.
Hamilton was working with Narron amidst the turning around of his life, and reaching of his full potential as a professional baseball player. Considering that history and likely chemistry between the two, Narron's presence in Milwaukee would not only be an added bonus for the Brewers, but for Hamilton as well.
With the unbelievable talent that Hamilton brings, virtually any MLB team could argue a need to add him to their lineup. No different are the Milwaukee Brewers, as adding Hamilton to a lineup that was already quite potent in 2012 could easily bump them into the company of the MLB's elite.
Should the Brewers be considered a favorite to sign Josh Hamilton?
The Brewers could indeed make room for another outfield bat, and Hamilton would fit nicely into that cleanup spot behind Ryan Braun. Braun, who hit 41 home runs with 112 RBI in 2012, would no doubt see even more pitches to hit with that kind of protection behind him.
This year in Detroit, we saw Miguel Cabrera win the AL Triple Crown while hitting a career-high 44 home runs—all of which came after Prince Fielder was acquired to hit behind him in the order.
Hamilton's addition would not only have value in the production that he brings, but also in the potential of his presence to raise the production of those around him in the lineup.
With the lack of a salary cap in the MLB, we have come to expect the league's most coveted free agents to immediately be linked to the biggest of markets with the biggest of payrolls.
While one of those teams could certainly emerge in this case and open up the vault for Hamilton, the Milwaukee Brewers' interest in him can not be overlooked. The Brewers provide a great fit for Hamilton in terms of personnel and available finances, and their lineup would no doubt love to have him.
Adding Hamilton could be just what the Brewers need to get back to the postseason as early as 2013. The possibility of which becomes more and more interesting as the free-agency race continues to heat up.