Found December 05, 2012 on
Fox Sports Southwest:
Can Josh Hamilton go home again?
Hamilton ended the season under a dark cloud. He was booed in his final, futile at-bats as the Rangers lost control of the AL West and then the Wild Card game.
The enduring image is of Hamilton nonchalantly dropping a routine fly ball in Game 162 the one that decided the AL West title.
As the season ended and Hamilton became a free agent, the prevailing vibe was that there was no way he was coming back to Texas. The fans, and perhaps even his own clubhouse, had grown tired of the persistent drama around Hamilton.
There was also a growing feeling among the fan base that Hamilton had quit on the Rangers at the end, and Hamilton's actions did little to refute that notion.
Fast forward to Tuesday and one of developing stories at the Winter Meetings was that the Rangers and Hamilton were close to agreeing on a contract. There were even reports that the two sides had agreed on a four-year deal.
The story lost some momentum by nightfall as there was little confirmation to the original reports. Rangers GM Jon Daniels said he hadn't spoken to anyone in Hamilton's camp. Hamilton, who visited the meetings, later tweeted a picture of himself and his wife, presumably at the Nashville airport, with the caption, "Heading Home!"
The Rangers are notoriously tight-lipped about their biggest off-season moves, and re-signing Hamilton would be a whopper.
The story all along the one that both sides acknowledge is that Hamilton would test the market and then give the Rangers a chance to top the best offer.
It seems too soon in the process for that to have happened. Whatever market there is for Hamilton has yet to fully emerge and it's unlikely he would give up waiting and seek a deal with the Rangers.
The Rangers' primary free agent target is presumed to be pitcher Zack Greinke, who also is coveted by other deep-pocketed clubs. It's unlikely the Rangers deal with Hamilton until they know where they stand on Greinke.
And if Hamilton returns, it will likely be on their terms. As unhappy as the fans were with Hamilton, management couldn't have been pleased with the way the season ended with him, either. Hamilton is just lucky Nolan Ryan wasn't in the dugout after he lazily dropped that fly ball in Oakland.
It's always something with Hamilton, whether it's energy drinks giving him blurry vision (allegedly) or trying to quit smokeless tobacco in mid-season. At one time his blue eyes were to blame for him not hitting during day games.
His teammates apparently have had enough. While a gimpy Adrian Beltre almost has to be sedated to stay out of the lineup, Hamilton takes himself out of crucial games and is out for long stretches.
Remember the words off reliever Mike Adams in a recent MLB Radio Network interview: "You don't know which Josh is going to show up at the ballpark. It's nothing to be negative about toward Josh; that's just the way it is. That's what you get with Josh."
Oh, but it is a negative in a clubhouse where Michael Young, the ultimate baseball professional, sets the tone. It's definitely a negative in the "No Excuses" culture crafted by Ryan.
For Hamilton to be welcomed back into the Rangers' clubhouse, he will have to return with a dose of humility.
When his bat is hot and he's hitting four homers in a game, teammates can put up with his quirks. When he's flailing at the plate and refusing to change his hitting approach, teammates don't want to hear about your ocular keratitis get up there and hit. That's not being insensitive, that's just the way baseball go.
This does not mean players and management have not been sympathetic toward Hamilton's problems with substance abuse. On the contrary, the Rangers have been very supportive in that area, which is one reason there's a good chance Hamilton returns. It's unlikely he will find another major market with the kind of support system he has in place in Texas.
As for the fans, they were staunchly in Hamilton's corner until the bitter end of 2012. It won't take much to win them back if Hamilton can find his swing again. This isn't Boston or New York where players are cheered or jeered based on the previous day's boxscore.
But Hamilton will have to display the kind of hustle he flashed, often to the detriment of his health, for most of his time in Texas. Hamilton used to be known for crashing into walls chasing baseballs. At the end of last season, he was known for letting them drop or dribble past him.
It is possible for Hamilton to return and win back the fans and clubhouse, but the market will determine much of it. One gets the sense the Rangers would welcome Hamilton back if they can get him at a reduced price.
All it takes is one team to offer Hamilton crazy money, but his sour end to the season may have spooked other clubs. If the Rangers can get Hamilton for considerably less than crazy money, then that gives the club a certain amount of psychological leverage.
Hamilton can go home again, but it will probably be under house rules.
Follow Keith Whitmire on Twitter: @Keith_Whitmire
BEST OF MAXIM
AROUND THE WEB
The Seattle Mariners are making a strong push to sign free
agent slugger Josh Hamilton and they are actually “very close” to getting a
deal done, reports Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times.
But I’m now told the talks between the two sides have been a
lot more serious than anyone has let on and that they are actually “very close”
to getting a deal done.
The following guest contribution was written by Richard Pallarino (@rpallarino). Richard is a student at CUNY-College of Staten Island and a Constituent Aide at the New York State Senate. Josh Hamilton was selected first overall in the 1999 Amateur Draft by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, touted by scouts as one of the most pure talents [...]
[[ This is a content summary only....
The Seattle Mariners are serious about free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton.
The team has discussed three-year deals with Hamilton in the range of $20 million to $25 million per season, major-league sources say.
The Texas Rangers remain more focused on free-agent right-hander Zack Greinke, sources say, creating a possible opening for the Mariners.
The Mariners met...
The Boston Red Sox already added free agent outfielders Shane Victorino and Jonny Gomes in the offseason, but that isn't stopping them from talking to the highest-profile outfielder remaining on the free agent market. Josh Hamilton spoke with Red Sox manager John Farrell and general manager Ben Cherington on Wednesday, according to multiple media reports out of the winter meetings...
Josh Hamilton would help the Seattle Mariners. That is obvious. They need his presence, his star power, his fluid left-handed swing. But if they think he alone is the answer to their offensive woes, they might be headed toward a costly calamity.
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The Texas Rangers and slugger Josh Hamilton are making progress on
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At this point, it will be an upset if the Texas Rangers do not land one of the top two free agents.
Could be outfielder Josh Hamilton. Could be right-hander Zack Greinke. Could be neither, likely will not be both.
The Rangers are competing for both players, major-league sources say, while also continuing to engage in trade discussions for Arizona right fielder Justin Upton, Tampa...
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The Texas Rangers have been the most aggressive team in
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— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) December 3, 2012
Rosenthal adds that if the Rangers are...
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Josh Hamilton, Zack Greinke, and Justin Upton are three pieces of three monster deals that could be on verge of either getting done at any moment, or fall apart at the last minute.
That’s all fine and dandy, but there are plenty of other players, serviceable players that are available that no one talks about.
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The goals of Texas and Arizona are driving talk of three- and
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Photo: Wikipedia Commons Cross another name off of the Phillies potential center field board. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reports that the San Francisco Giants and centerfielder Angel Pagan, a Phillies target, are close to agreement on a new deal: Sources: Pagan close to re-signing with #SFGiants. — Ken Rosenthal...