Outfielder Josh Hamilton is one of the most coveted free agents on the market. The Texas Rangers, who have enjoyed his MVP-level services for the past five seasons, are hoping to bring him back. They have company in the high-priced sweepstakes, though.
Even though the MLB winter meetings are winding down, the buzz surrounding Hamilton's future is just beginning to heat up. Let's take a look at some of the latest reports about his status and examine what it means for each team.
The Rangers have been talking about myriad different options to complete their roster. One of the most popular links besides Hamilton is Zack Greinke, the market's top available starting pitcher. He would be a huge addition to the rotation.
More importantly, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that team president Nolan Ryan believes there's a way the Rangers could end up with both Hamilton and Greinke on the roster, instead of having to choose between the two.
That's a major development. It doesn't necessarily mean the Rangers will end up getting both—the Dodgers are also very interested in Greinke—but it's at least possible. It also allows Texas to pursue both aggressively at the same time without having to wait for a chip to fall.
It's easy to see why the Mariners would be interested in Hamilton. They finished last in the American League in runs scored last season, tallying nearly 50 fewer than any other AL squad. The powerful outfielder would be a major step in the right direction.
Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times created quite a stir by reporting he Mariners were "very close" to reaching an agreement with Hamilton. But it appears no deal is imminent, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
It would have been a terrific coup for the Mariners to lock up Hamilton before Greinke decided, which could have left the rival Rangers without either player. It appears that's not going to happen, though. They will have to battle Texas to the end.
Which team will land Hamilton?
Boston has already added Shane Victorino to its outfield, but the team is keeping its options open as trade talk swirls around Jacoby Ellsbury. Keeping in touch with Hamilton allows the Red Sox some flexibility moving forward.
Fox Sports' Jon Morosi reports the Red Sox talked with Hamilton before the star outfielder left the winter meetings. He doesn't state if there was actual talk about a deal or if they were simply checking on his current status.
Regardless, they would seemingly face an uphill battle to land him. They would have to make a lot of progress in a short period of time to catch up with the Rangers and Mariners. Nevertheless, it's another team involved, and that means an even higher price tag for Hamilton.