Originally written on NESN.com  |  Last updated 11/15/14
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.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

More international NFL games could be on the horizon

Tyler Ulis on West Virginia: We wanted to crush their spirit

Former No. 1 pick Brady Aiken undergoes Tommy John surgery

Ortiz: 'Nobody in MLB history' tested for PEDs more than me

Sam Dekker scores career high after Aaron Rodgers' challenge

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Brey Day: Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight after a vintage performance

Ronda Rousey on having kids: 'I'm an ovarian goldmine'

Pedro Martinez: Rose should be allowed in Hall of Fame

Pablo Sandoval 'cut things off at the root' with Giants

Scott Boras taking shots at Cubs' history over Kris Bryant

Kingdome debt finally paid off 15 years after demolition

An identity in flux: Harden and the collective consciousness

LeBron James makes Fortune’s list of 50 greatest world leaders

Five under-the-radar National League MVP candidates

Five bizarre NFL offseason moves that don't add up

Texas to Rick Barnes: Change your staff or you will be fired

First 'National Fantasy Football Convention' to star Tony Romo

Teams that don't deserve to win Connor McDavid Sweepstakes

How a basketball-themed art exhibit changed perceptions

Bucs admit they’ve been getting calls about Mike Glennon

The last Expo standing

NHL ships nets which have room for cameras inside posts

Toronto Raptors limping into the playoffs

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 Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Under-the-radar NL MVP candidates

Notre Dame’s coach makes first Elite Eight

The last Expo standing

Five under-the-radar AL MVP candidates

Michigan sent recruit's GF a letter

MLB teams that could disappoint

25 years ago, the best Sweet 16 of all time was pure madness

The 2015 bad quarterback carousel

17 facts to know before the Sweet 16

Agent: Sam was horrible at veteran combine

Keeping judo ‘pure’ in Europe means keeping MMA out

The Sweet 16 should be seen as success

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
Help
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.