Josh Hamilton has been one of the best players in baseball since entering the majors in 2007. Now, he wants to be paid like one.
The Rangers outfielder is in the final year of his contract, and Texas would like to keep him for the next couple of years. CBS Sports is reporting that the two sides are trying to negotiate a long-term contract.
Texas will have to give Hamilton a lot of money to keep him, and the former MVP won't give them a hometown discount. In spring training, the outfielder said he didn't feel like he owes the Rangers anything.
Hamilton has had problems with substance abuse, and Texas has helped Hamilton stay clean. The team hired an accountability partner to help him stay away from drugs.
Still, Hamilton will likely try to get as much money as he can. He reportedly has said he wants to be paid like an elite player, and that type of contract would cost Texas a lot of money.
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Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder are considered to be elite players by most standards. The two first basemen signed enormous contracts this past offseason.
The Angels gave Pujols $254 million over 10 years, while Fielder got $214 million from the Tigers over nine years. Looking at those numbers, Hamilton is expected to want at least $200 million.
Is he worth that much money?
Hamilton certainly showcased what kind of talent he has with his four home run game on Tuesday. When healthy, he may be the best player in the game.
He won the American League MVP in 2010 and is having his best season ever this year. He currently leads the majors in all three Triple Crown categories. The outfielder is batting .406 with 14 home runs and 36 RBI in just 27 games.
The problem is that Hamilton has had a hard time staying on the field.
Since making the big leagues in 2007, he's played 150 games just once. Even in his MVP season, he missed the last month with an injury. The Rangers might not want to give a man who's only played 118 games per year $200 million dollars guaranteed.
Hamilton is making just under $14 million this season, and will almost certainly get a raise. But Texas will be leery of giving him too much money.
The Rangers have one of the highest payrolls in the league at over $120 million. They spent $112 million on Yu Darvish this past offseason. Texas was third in runs scored in 2011, and currently leads the MLB in that category. They may decide not to spend all that money on an offensive player.
Texas has made it to the World Series two years in a row, and has the best record in baseball 30 games into the season. The question remains if they will break the bank for Hamilton to maintain that success.