Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/5/12
Josh Hamilton has a lot going for him. He’s a former MVP, a five-time All Star and the big fish in this year's free agency pond. But while his numbers might suggest that he's worth the seven-year, $175 million contract that he reportedly is seeking, there will always be more to it than that for Hamilton. Hamilton's well-documented personal issues will play a role in any discussions about his future, for better or for worse. And while many fans will point to the outfielder's checkered past as a red flag for interested teams to heed in their pursuit of the free-agent slugger, it is actually his on-field exploits that should concern MLB front offices much more. Hamilton is going to turn 32 next season, and in all likelihood his best baseball is behind him. His batting average has gone down in each of the last three season, and his strikeout rate has steadily crept up during that time. Put that together, and you have all the makings of a free swinger whose age is catching up to him, as his hands can no longer make up for the mistakes that his eyes make. That's even before getting to the outfielder's injury history, where he has played more than 133 games in a season just twice in his six-year career. He's missed a total 84 games since 2010, including a bizarre instance this year where drinking too much caffeine caused eyesight problems. It's possible that Hamilton could make the necessary adjustments to remain a formidable hitter at the plate in his elder years, but it is also very possible that what Rangers fans saw in the final weeks of the season was the beginning of the end of his elite production. And it is that fear -- not the fear of a relapse or issues with quitting dip -- that GMs around the league should heed. We've seen time and time again teams get burned by big contracts given out to aging stars, to the point where the market for free agents is beginning to change. Front offices around the league have seen the likes of Carl Crawford and Alex Rodriguez fail to deliver on big deals once they hit the wrong side of 30. That's why the Giants signed then-27-year-old Matt Cain to a huge extension, why the Reds locked down Joey Votto (28 when he signed) and what the Rays see in try to do with just about every promising pitcher who joins their rotation. Yes, Hamilton's past with drugs and alcohol can be a real concern for some organizations, particularly those without a strong support system already in place. But teams deal with "character issue" guys all the time, and to some extent Hamilton would be more of the same where that is concerned. A strong clubhouse, a manager who has the support of his team and an orgnization committed to keeping its players healthy can help Josh Hamilton through his off-the-field issues. At the end of the day, however, it's the on-field production that matters, and that's where there is the most cause for concern with Hamilton.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Six teams on upset alert in NFL Week 15

Reggie Bush admits his NFL career is likely over

Doug Pederson: Jay Ajayi will continue to see more touches

49ers' Reuben Foster about to be drowning in cereal

Steelers, Patriots dominate AFC Pro Bowl vote

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Joel Embiid takes a shot at Russell Westbrook’s shooting efficiency

Panthers owner Jerry Richardson being investigated for workplace misconduct

WATCH: Gronkowski refuses to discuss suspension, walks out of presser

Cousins complains refs unfairly target him on technicals

FIFA threatens to expel Spain from World Cup

Is Vince McMahon looking to bring back the XFL?

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mr. Jones goes to Washington

The 'It's the most wonderful bowl of the year' quiz

NHL Weekender: Bolts keep striking, Preds on the hunt

Chargers are the AFC team no one wants to play in January

Donald Trump's quotes vs. the sports world in 2017

Five MLB teams that should trade for Manny Machado

The 'It's always chilly in Indiana' quiz

NFL puts safety entirely on players, again

Eight NFL teams who simply need to start over

Most important player on every team in each bowl matchup

NFL Week 15 Predictions

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Boogie, Z-Bo reach out and punch someone

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Yardbarker Privacy Policy and Terms of Service. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.

Sports & Politics Intersect: Mr. Jones goes to Washington

NHL Weekender: Bolts keep striking, Preds on the hunt

The 'It's the most wonderful bowl of the year' quiz

Donald Trump's quotes vs. the sports world in 2017

Chargers are the AFC team no one wants to play in January

The 'It's always chilly in Indiana' quiz

NFL puts safety entirely on players, again

Most important player on every team in each bowl matchup

NFL Week 15 Predictions

NBA Referee Hotline Bling: Boogie, Z-Bo reach out and punch someone

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker