The biggest free agent of the baseball offseason is still available.
Josh Hamilton has yet to sign with a team, and doesn’t look close to making a decision. He is reportedly looking for a six or seven-year contract. The most he has been offered is a three or four-year deal. Teams have been reluctant to give the outfielder a lengthy contract, because of his substance abuse issues and history of injuries.
The same few teams have been in the mix for Hamilton in the past few weeks.
The Seattle Mariners reportedly discussed a deal with the free agent that was worth between $20 and $25 million per season over three or four years. Another report claims that the Philadelphia Phillies offered him approximately $80 million over three years.
The Boston Red Sox and Texas Rangers are also in the mix for Hamilton. Boston has a chance to land him if the teams continue to balk at the idea of a long-term contract. However, Hamilton’s former team seems to be the frontrunners to sign him.
The New York Yankees have also been mentioned as a possible landing spot for Hamilton, but they appear to be long shots to even make an offer.
As Christmas nears, it appears another team may be entering the race to acquire Hamilton. The Los Angeles Angels have been relatively quiet this offseason, and there is a chance that they are planning a big push to sign Hamilton. According to Buster Olney, L.A. is getting ready to make a big splash.
“Source: Angels positioning themselves for a big strike in the market. Hamilton? We’ll see,” tweeted the ESPN senior baseball writer.
Since the middle of the 2012 season, the Dodgers have been far more active than any other team. After making blockbuster deals with the Red Sox and Miami Marlins during the season, the Dodgers continued to make moves for 2013. They signed pitcher Zack Greinke to a record contract this week, and have been linked to multiple big name free agents.
Olney points out that Angles owner Arte Moreno often makes moves in reaction to PR. The Dodgers have been making all of the recent headlines in Los Angeles. That may just be the push the Angels need to go after one of the best hitters in baseball.
Moreno showed last year that he isn’t afraid to spend money. Last offseason, the Angels were the biggest players in free agency. They gave C.J. Wilson $77.5 million over five years, and signed Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $250 million contract.
Despite handing out these large deals, the Angels failed to make the playoffs. L.A. finished behind Texas and the Oakland Athletics in third place in the American League West.
Pairing Hamilton with Pujols would perhaps give Los Angeles the best 3-4 hitters in all of baseball. The two combined to hit 73 homers and drive in 233 RBI last season. Along with Mike Trout, the Angels would figure to have a formidable offense.
The Angels might be reluctant to commit that much money to two players. Even with Pujols’s Hall of Fame career, he likely won’t be worth his contract in his final years in Southern California. Hamilton’s off-the-field issues make it a risk to give him a large contract.
There’s no telling if Hamilton would want to play in Los Angeles. He’s had success playing with the Rangers, and they appear to be the favorites to sign him.
However, if the Angels are willing to give the All-Star more than a four-year contract, they might have the best chance of landing the prized free agent.