Every few hours or so, someone drops a little nugget, a tiny breadcrumb, a small morsel of hope, that a marriage between the Phillies and Josh Hamilton could happen.
Very few of these nuggets come from totally reliable sources, and most of it is overblown and/or overstated.
Is it really news to anyone that the Phils may have offered Hamilton a three-year contract, worth about $80 million? Is that really a bombshell?
Speaking of Hamilton, folks in the sport have wondered all offseason if other teams would jump into the bidding if his offers stayed in the short-term range. And all along, Phillies officials have said privately that they’d be OK with a three-year deal for him. Now that may or may not be happening. – Buster Olney
Is that news? Of course not.
But every time someone links “Philadelphia Phillies” and “Josh Hamilton” in the media, the Twitterverse absolutely loses their collective crap.
Listen, I hate to be a bucket of cold water, but for everyone’s sanity and mental health, I feel it’s incumbent upon me to give you three obvious reasons why Josh Hamilton will not be a Phillie in 2013.
At this point, it’s clear the Phils don’t want to go any longer than three years with Hamilton. If reports are true that the team did offer him a three-year contract in the last few days (and there is speculation that may not even be true), it’s an indication the front office is very wary of all the personal baggage and injury history that accompanies the Texas slugger.
Hamilton slumped badly last year as he kicked his chewing tobacco habit. And while that is a terrific thing, giving up yet another addiction, it’s just an indication of how serious his problems with drugs and alcohol really are. A relapse could occur at any time, and Hamilton has to be closely monitored by others to make sure he doesn’t backslide.
It’s a scary proposition, especially if you’re going to commit more than $25 million a year to a single player. This is what gives the Phillies pause.
After losing out on Zack Greinke, and after a possible trade for Justin Upton all but died when the Diamondbacks completed their three-team swap this week, the Rangers’ lone option is now Josh Hamilton. And it appears as if Texas is trying to get back into the Josh Hamilton business.
“My feelings about Josh haven’t changed from Day 1,” general manager Jon Daniels said Wednesday. “I think we have been consistent. We want Josh back and always have. It has nothing to do with who is still on the market and who is off the market. We’ve maintained communication and the relationship is good. We’d still like to work something out but I can’t handicap it.”
Obviously, the Rangers were hoping to upgrade by trading for Upton, or were hoping to spend some money for a frontline starter like Greinke. But neither of those things happened.
Hamilton is the Rangers’ only choice now. And it’s impossible to believe they wouldn’t be willing to go to four or five years to retain their superstar.
For the Phillies to outbid Texas for Hamilton’s services, they would likely have to offer him a mega-deal of five to six years at well over $100 million. And RAJ certainly doesn’t seem interested in doing anything that crazy.
Nor should he.
And if Hamilton’s market does shrink down to a three-year deal, you can bet that other teams, like the Yankees and Red Sox, will suddenly have renewed interest as well. Even if the Phils offer a fourth-year option, that would likely be an offer that Texas would beat.
If all things are equal, if the Phils and Rangers (and whatever other team is in the bidding) make similar offers to Hamilton, why wouldn’t he just choose to stay with the team that has taken him to two World Series? Texas is a much better team than the Phillies right now, and Josh has a much better chance at winning that elusive World Series ring with the Rangers, as opposed to the Phils.
Hamilton is also familiar with the Texas organization, and they with him. They both know the drill. The institutional protections for Hamilton are already in place.
It’s a safe place. A happy place.
If the Phillies don’t budge from their three-year stance on Hamilton (and they shouldn’t), it’s hard to see how they will end up with him.
And while it’s clear the Phils do like Hamilton and believe he would be a fit in their lineup, the chances of him actually coming to Philadelphia are almost nil.
Listen guys, if you don’t believe me, believe some folks who actually get paid to follow this stuff, and have a pretty good reading on the pulse of the Phillies.
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) December 12, 2012
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeymanCBS) December 13, 2012
Still, RAJ likes to surprise. He’s a snake, lying in the weeds, always ready to strike.
Just don’t get your hopes up.