Dec
30

Mailbag: Josh Hamilton

By

(Charles Krupa/AP)

Tucker writes: Josh Hamilton is set to become a free agent after the 2012 season. Could the Rangers missing out on Lee allow them to give Josh an extension? Would he want to hit the market? And most importantly, do the Yankees bite?

The Rangers, apparently, have money. When they acquired Cliff Lee in July most of the league thought it was a half-season rental. After all, the team was immersed in bankruptcy proceedings at the time. But then they emerged from them and signed an enormous TV deal. While the overall impact of the deal might have been overstated in initial reports, it still will provide the team with ample income for the next decade. They were going to spend a considerable portion of that money on Cliff Lee, so why not repurpose it for their biggest star?

This season Hamilton led the league in fWAR at 8.0 despite having just 571 plate appearances. Had he stayed healthy he could have finished with between 9 and 10 WAR. But that’s the problem right there. Hamilton has exactly four years of service time, meaning he’s been eligible to play in 648 games. Yet he has only appeared in 468. A few of those have been routine days off, but injuries have been the main culprit. In only one season has he played more than 133 games, and in two of his four seasons he has been at 90 or fewer. His health is no guarantee.

(Seriously, go to baseballinjurytool.com and type in Hamilton’s name. Then let your jaw drop when you see his four-year history of just day-to-day injuries.)

Earlier in the year, when an inflamed knee was bothering Hamilton, Will Carroll noted that “it’s his body‚Ķthat is hurting his ability to put that talent on the field.” He went on to project Hamilton’s future of 100- to 120-game seasons. He did break that in 2010, by a substantial amount when you include the playoffs, but does that mean he can handle it in the future? That’s such an enormous question mark right now, and it’s a huge part of the reason why we haven’t hard much in terms of a long-term contract.

I’m no doctor, so I won’t attempt any independent analysis of Hamilton’s future health. What I will project is that unless he plays in more than, say, 130 games next year, we won’t hear a thing about an extension next off-season either. And if he doesn’t break that barrier in 2012, I’m not sure we’ll see any kind of mammoth free agency offers for him. That a long way of saying that we won’t know much until Hamilton plays the final two years of his obligation to the Rangers. We just can’t reasonably project Josh Hamilton’s future.

To answer the actual questions here: If I were Hamilton and I played in another 130 games next year, I’d be all about an extension if Texas offered it. That’s some security that might not be around in another year. In that way, waiting for free agency could cost him. If he’s healthy in 2011 but not 2012 he’ll be far less valuable in free agency.

If, however, he’s valuable in both 2011 and 2012 and reasonably healthy during that span, I can see the Yanks jumping in there. I wouldn’t go nuts bidding for him — the injury history doesn’t just go away, and he’ll be 32 in his first year with a new team. But if the market is down on him because of those concerns I can see the Yankees setting it.

Categories : Mailbag

25 Comments»

  1. I think he has a wheat allergy. It explains the injuries*.

    Sincerely,

    Amateur Doctor.

    *May not be true.

  2. rek4gehrig says:

    Yankee Capn injuries are just are jaw dropping.
    ps. Great website

  3. Preston says:

    I can’t imagine that smoking crack had a positive impact on his long term health…

  4. Reggie C. says:

    I can see Josh Hamilton hit free agency and beat Jayson Werth’s contract. Given the injury history to date, Hamilton will and should probably get money closer to Werth than say Carl Crawford.

    I think its all moot at the end. I’d be shocked if Hamilton entered 2012 without having signed an extension that’ll match Werth’s contract. Hamilton might not repeat his ’10 success , but he really doesn’t have to. Just stay healthier.

  5. Mattchu12 says:

    I’d rather stick with our current trio. Gardner and Granderson give this lineup some much needed speed and Nick Swisher has lots of pop and a great eye. They really are a great trio, and the former two are great defenders.

    Now, I don’t know what will happen between now and 2013, but these are my guys.

    Age is on their side too, on Opening Day 2013 they will be 29, 32, and 33 respectively.

    • Mattchu12 says:

      Just remembered that Swisher is only under contract through 2012, so my point is moot, but if I had the choice of Swisher vs. Hamilton, I think I’d pick Swisher because I feel more comfortable about him maintaining his level of performance than I am with Hamilton.

    • Jerome S. says:

      I can see Swisher beginning to pile on some suckitude by then. But, then again, it’s three years, who’s gonna guess now.

  6. Jerome S. says:

    I think that the most important thing to remember about Hamilton is that despite missing considerable time, he can still be MVP.

  7. mike c says:

    hamilton is an absolute beast… but I’m not sure the yankees are the right fit for him. the guy’s not even allowed to carry cash in his pocket, I just don’t see him leaving texas for the yankees

  8. Jorge says:

    I would pick him up as a fourth outfielder, then swing a trade by which the Yankees send Frankie Cervilli, Carmen Angelini, Eduardo Nunez, and Hector Noesi for Carlos Gonzalez, who could be our fifth outfielder. They’re the New York Yankees, damnit, not some mid-market team!

    Next on list: replace Ramiro Pena with Troy Tulowitski. Still claim Red Sox are better and that it’s all Cashman’s fault.

  9. Sal says:

    By the looks of this comment section this article went to hell in a hand basket. No legs… Happy New Yr,looking forward to more Algebra lessons moving forward. peace

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