The teams interested in signing free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton are establishing themselves as the offseason hot stove begins warming up.
Hamilton could return to the Texas Rangers. But if not, the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves are all names having been linked to the best available hitter on the open market.
But there are a few other clubs that could also join the bidding for Hamilton, especially if the market pushes down his reported desire for a seven-year, $175 million contract. These are teams that are either presumed to consider Hamilton unaffordable or would become even better with him in their lineup.
Here are five teams that are dark horses in the race to sign the 31-year-old outfielder for next season. And for whichever team gets Hamilton, the competitive balance in either the American League or National League could tip in their favor.