Josh Hamilton and 4 Big-Name Offseason Targets with the Most Baggage
There are a number of MLB free agents on the market this winter that are outstanding players. However, some of these players may not get the deals that they are looking for because of the baggage that will come along with them.
Even with all of the talent that these players have, off-the-field issues or clubhouse issues have a major impact on their signability.
Teams out there will be willing to take a risk on these big names even though they may have had some problems in the past.
Zack Greinke has suffered with social anxiety disorder throughout his career in the major leagues (h/t Adam McCalvy of MLB.com). He has overcome this issue and has proved to be a role model to others with the same condition.
Teams in major markets may have some questions about Greinke, but they should not be too concerned. After pitching in Los Angeles last season, Greinke has proven that he has been able to take control of his disorder and that he is able to perform at a high level in major markets.
B.J. Upton has an immense amount of talent, but there have been questions about him failing to make full use of it at times. There were a number of moments during his time with the Tampa Bay Rays that Upton had mental lapses.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times recalls that there were times when Upton seemed too casual on the field, some of which led to him getting benched. In a bigger city, such as Philadelphia, the media would be all over Upton for something like that.
It seems as if Upton has resolved his issues, but it is possible that they could come up again.
Josh Hamilton's off-the-field issues have been well documented through out his career. Hamilton has fought through alcohol and drug addictions during his time in baseball and has had relapses as recently as 2012 (h/t Carrie Gann of ABC).
The talented outfielder has been able to get past his issues and put up outstanding numbers on the field. He is arguably the best free agent available this winter and will be a major run producer regardless of where he signs.
A.J. Pierzynski is incredibly passionate about the game of baseball, but some baseball players do not like him as a result. In 2012, Pierzynski has been chosen as the most hated player in the MLB by 100 fellow players, and he received 34 percent of the vote (Men's Journal via CBS Chicago).
Clubhouse chemistry is very important to a ballclub, and having a player that teammates don't like can negatively impact a team's performance. This means that teams will need to be careful and make sure that Pierzynski will not only be a fit for their team's lineup, but also their clubhouse.