This year’s free agent market may be slim on depth, but it does not lack a main attraction with Josh Hamilton set to hit the open market. Hamilton hit a career-high 43 home runs this past season, but a slew of late season miscues have affected his marking price.
While he isn’t the safest of off-season additions, teams will still look to acquire the powerful lefty because of his middle of the order presence which very few others can match.
Here are three reasons why.
Decreased Level of Interest
Hamilton’s late season collapse brought about several questions and concerns from teams that were pondering upon making a pitch for his services this off-season. He simply broke-down at the wrong time.
Whether you remember the several misplayed hits or the dry patch at the plate, it’s quite evident that Hamilton is now more of a question mark than a guarantee. Reflecting back, the opposite could have been said in May and June, as the MVP award seemed to be his and only his.
Hamilton’s collapse, added in with his off the field issues, might prove to be too much of a risk for teams on the fence about his status. For teams with a slight intention to engage in negotiations, “The Collapse” could be enough to persuade them far away.
The talent is still there, but various issues could permit him from producing if he winds up with the wrong team. Therefore, the once sky-high amount of interest has dwindled down to only a few teams.
For the Brewers, this is great news because with decreased interest comes a lower contract demand. Milwaukee are not big spenders such as the Yankees or Red Sox, but in essence, they can be if they wanted to. Remember, they did not let Prince Fielder depart without throwing in their contract ideas which reportedly exceeded $100 million.
They also followed a similar process with Zack Greinke. It’s not like they just let them walk. Their ideas fell just short of what Fielder and Greinke had in mind.
So, if Hamilton’s demand comes crashes down even slightly, the Brewers could make their move while other teams refuse to take a flyer on the 2010 A.L MVP winner.
Hamilton Is Connected with the Brewers
Former Texas Rangers coach and current Brewers’ bench coach, Johnny Narron, served as Hamilton’s mentor and accountability partner in Texas and beyond, as he’s known the slugger for about 20 years, per Buster Olney’s report.
It’s these kind of tidbits that give the Brewers a decent chance at landing Hamilton. It might seem minor, but it will conceivably be a huge factor in Hamilton’s decision considering that Narron was a figure that helped him dig himself out of his drug problems.
As Olney points out, many general managers lack information regarding Hamilton. No, he’s not referring to the gaudy stats. He’s talking about the daily struggles and about how much of Hamilton’s past addictions affects him on the field.
Narron could presumably write a book on Hamilton. And for someone whose vulnerable to relapse at anytime, having a mentor at your side certainly seems refreshing. A clear-minded Hamilton would destroy the National League.
If you think that Rangers Ballpark in Arlington was a launching pad, just imagine how much damage Hamilton could do if he played in the hitter-friendly confines of Miller Park.
Per ESPN Park Factors, Miller Park checks in as the best park for power hitters. With a Park Factor of 1.631, it ranks as the first in baseball in that department. In comparison, Rangers Ballpark in Arlington ranks seventh. So for Hamilton, it could increase his home run output, but that’s just babble.
Plus, Miller Park would presumably not put enormous expectations on Hamilton like Rangers’ fans did towards the end of the season. This should relax him a bit more, if anything.