MLB Winter Meetings 2012: Teams That Should Splash Cash to Sign Josh Hamilton

Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistDecember 5, 2012

OAKLAND, CA - OCTOBER 03:  Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers bats against the Oakland Athletics at Coliseum on October 3, 2012 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

Has there ever been a more intriguing free agent than Josh Hamilton?

On one hand, the slugger is one of the finest hitters in the game, a genuine MVP candidate each year and a talent that often doesn't hit the market. 

On the other hand, he's 31 years old, injury-prone, a recovering addict, is seeking a giant contract and isn't finding the market as welcoming as he may have expected. 

It's rare that you find a major free agent with such dramatic boom-or-bust potential, but Hamilton is that guy.

He could be the spark that takes a team to the World Series next year, or a bitter disappointment that handcuffs a team's budget for the next several years.

But all of that aside, which teams should take the risk? What clubs make the most sense for Hamilton? Which teams would be willing to spend the cash, and more importantly, should?

Let's find out.


Philadelphia Phillies

Two things have become clear for the Philadelphia Phillies—the team has several roster spots it needs to fill, and it's probably going to take a trade to fill them.

So why the heck would I suggest the team needs to spend a boatload of money on an aging star with injury issues? Don't the Phillies already have those in Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Roy Halladay?

Yes, they do, but general manager Ruben Amaro is a man unafraid to make a splash, and the window for this Phillies team is closing fast.

If the team adds Hamilton, the only really vital addition left to make would be to add a third baseman, with perhaps a veteran like Michael Young a possibility.

Yes, the team would still need to fill the corner outfield spots, but with John Mayberry Jr., Dominic Brown and Darin Ruf, the team could get by.

The Phillies would be left-hand heavy in the middle of the lineup, but Hamilton would give them an MVP candidate in a lineup that has declined in production.

It's a long shot, but Amaro hasn't been afraid to shock the baseball world with a big move in the past.


Texas Rangers

This is the logical move for both the Rangers and Hamilton.

While the team may have Zack Greinke in mind—a move that could eventually prompt the Rangers to deal for another outfielder and let Hamilton walk—keeping the perennial MVP candidate in town is the more likely result.

I have a feeling Greinke will end up with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Just a hunch.

Hamilton and the Rangers have a good thing together. Hamilton rips the cover off the ball, the Rangers go to great lengths to support him and ensure he doesn't fall off the wagon. To this day, one of my favorite postseason moments was the team spraying bottles of ginger ale after advancing to the 2010 ALCS.

I think in the end, he'll return. And I think it will be the right move for both sides.


Seattle Mariners

Believe it or not, one of the teams that has consistently been mentioned alongside Hamilton at the meetings has been the Mariners. 


Guys, I'm not kidding. The team even met with him on Sunday, and the Mariners have the cash to make one big move.

Why not go after Hamilton? Seattle has a putrid offense, could use a splashy signing to attract fans and could use the move to entice Felix Hernandez to re-up with the team on a long-term deal by proving it is serious about building a winner.

It's a crazy long shot in every regard, but if the Rangers sign Greinke and Hamilton doesn't find the market he was expecting, it could certainly happen.


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