Would Josh Hamilton consider Baltimore?
The Orioles were so close to reaching the ALCS that they could taste it. Unfortunately, they fell just short. Despite missing out, the Orioles' strong push to the playoffs proved that the East was no longer dominated by the same two teams.
Still, even though other teams can compete, no team has been able to take down either of the two AL East giants.
I think the Orioles should sign Hamilton, and I think it would break right through the glass ceiling.
Now, it should be noted that the Orioles' interest in Hamilton has been argued by different sources, and that his massive price would make a deal unlikely (via Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun). That's 100 percent true, but what if that massive price was just a bit lower?
Instead of the reported $175 million over seven years that he’s looking for, how about $57 million over two years? Hell, throw in an option for a third year.
Don't take my numbers as based in any sort of real rumors, I just threw something reasonable out, but the years are what's important here.
Baltimore and other interested teams have major concerns over the long-term value of Hamilton. There are legitimate concerns over injury issues and, obviously, his off-field baggage.
Still, Hamilton's bat would provide an impact that Baltimore will need to continue to compete in the AL East.
With the Yankees currently undergoing a mini crisis (emphasis on mini, before Yankee fans get upset) of their own, after failing to capture the World Series again, and the Red Sox in their own heap of trouble, now is the time for a team to take over.
Hamilton would immediately push Baltimore into that contention and give the Orioles their best chance at capturing the AL East title.
We know why it would make sense for Baltimore, but why would Hamilton choose the Orioles? In name alone, they aren't the most attractive team.
However, playing for the Orioles should be a very attractive option for Hamilton.
He'll still be making his money. It won't be over seven years, but the Orioles would jack up the base salary a bit to offset the lack of years. Then, if he proves that he can last, he can go seek out a long-term deal with a lower salary, and make up for the rest of it that way.
He'd also be much closer to his family in Raleigh, N.C. Money talks in baseball, but never underestimate the value of family proximity, especially to a player with a noted closeness to his faith.
I can't speak for his health, but playing for Baltimore will surely help boost his value. His offensive numbers will more than likely be similar, if not higher.
Oriole Park is a hitter friendly park. He'll also play a dozen or so games between Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium. In all three stadiums, Hamilton has put up impressive numbers.
Plus, if he somehow wills the Orioles over powerhouses like the Yankees or Red Sox, Hamilton will forever cement his place in baseball lore, amongst all baseball fans. Well, except maybe for fans of the Red Sox or Yankees.
All of this is a pipe dream for Baltimore fans, or fans of the game, because the Orioles have no history of making such moves.
According to Forbes' valuation of MLB teams, though, Baltimore's value has been rising. Take it for what it's worth, but it's interesting to note.
A move for Hamilton would be big enough that it'll draw even more fans to the game, but also would not cripple the team financially for years to come. It'd be a great precedent to set for small-market teams everywhere.