The prize of this season's free-agent class, at least on the offensive side of things, is undoubtedly Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton.
According to a tweet from John Perrotto of Baseball Prospectus, Hamilton is seeking a seven-year, $175 million deal.
While Hamilton comes with far more question marks than last season's duo of Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder, he is still the biggest impact bat of the offseason and not surprisingly, there are several teams with at least some interest in the 31-year-old.
Fellow Bleacher Report writer Benjamin Klein has been tracking rumors surrounding the season's top 100 free agents, and names the Rangers, Braves, Brewers, Orioles, Mariners, Phillies and Red Sox as teams interested in Hamilton.
A report from Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe backs many of those teams, adding the Yankees and the Dodgers to the mix, while a report from Ken Rosenthal adds the Nationals to the list of Hamilton pursuers as well.
Baltimore Orioles: 5/1
Seattle Mariners: 8/1
Milwaukee Brewers: 10/1
Philadelphia Phillies: 15/1
Boston Red Sox: 15/1
New York Yankees: 18/1
Los Angeles Dodgers: 20/1
Atlanta Braves: 20/1
Washington Nationals: 35/1
Texas Rangers: 50/1
At this point, four of the teams on the above list appear to be long shots to land Hamilton.
The Rangers appear ready to part ways with Hamilton, the Nationals are more interested in a table-setting leadoff hitter, the Dodgers have a full outfield with Carl Crawford, Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier and the Braves don't have the money to re-sign their own free agent Michael Bourn, let alone Hamilton.
Three big-spending teams are also in on Hamilton, as the Yankees have a hole to fill following the departure of Nick Swisher, the Red Sox have a ton of money freed up following their August blockbuster with the Dodgers and the Phillies gutted their outfield at the deadline.
However, it's a trio of smaller-market teams that have emerged as the early front-runners for Hamilton in the Brewers, Mariners and Orioles.
Starting pitching and bullpen help rank as bigger needs for the Brewers than adding Hamilton, but his bat would make an already good offense arguably the best in the National League.
The Mariners ranked last in the AL in runs scored and batting average last offseason, so adding Hamilton would be a huge pickup and give them an impact bat to build their young core around.
In the end though, I think it will be the Orioles who land Hamilton as they got a taste of success last season and adding his bat may be enough to push a good, young team over the top. They've worked hard to build their team from within, but an impact signing like Hamilton is what they need to come out on top in the ultra-competitive AL East.
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