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What kind of contract has Josh Hamilton earned?

October 11, 2012
  • Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton (Tony Gutierrez / Associated…)

Writers from around Tribune Co. will discuss Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, who will become a free agent during the off-season. Check back throughout the day for their responses and join the conversation with a comment of your own.

Lance Pugmire, Los Angeles Times

The question is rooted in another question: What kind of trust has Josh Hamilton earned?

The Texas Rangers' superstar outfielder has overcome alcohol and chemical dependency issues to become the player scouts first projected in making him the No. 1 amateur pick in 1999, winning an American League MVP in 2010 and leading his team to back-to-back World Series appearances.

But Hamilton acknowledged briefly slipping in the off-season to alcohol, and Rangers owner Nolan Ryan criticized his timing in stopping his tobacco use this season -- with caffeine dependency causing an eye disorder that forced Hamilton to miss games during the Rangers' late fade in the A.L. West. His 148 games this season are his most since 2008.

The going rate for MVP-candidate outfielders (although both Ryan Braun and Matt Kemp are younger than Hamilton, 31) is in the $20-million-a-year range. Will someone overspend like the Angels did for Albert Pujols? Probably. But common sense says Hamilton has earned a deal in the eight-year, $160-million neighborhood.

Tom Housenick, Allentown Morning Call

Josh Hamilton deserves big money in free agency. Few players can boast the statistics (.303 BA, 28 HRs, 101 RBIs) he's averaged the last five years with the Texas Rangers.

But he shouldn't chase contracts in the Albert Pujols (10 years, $240 million) or Miguel Cabrera (eight years, $152.3 million) range simply because his statistics don't compare.

Also, Hamilton has not been as durable as Pujols or Cabrera, who have averaged 154 and 158 games, respectively, per season the last five years. He also has ongoing medical issues (tobacco, caffeine) and the 1,000-pound elephant in his room (drug addiction).

Hamilton will be 32 next spring, so anything beyond five years would be excessive. The Rangers had him at a bargain the last two seasons ($12 million per). He definitely deserves a raise, but I would hope desperate GMs (including the Phillies' Ruben Amaro) don't overpay for a tremendous talent with red flags.


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