Originally posted on PRO Rumors  |  Last updated 3/21/12
Now that the Rangers have extended Derek Holland, Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz, the next step would be to evaluate the possibility of giving a contract extension to Josh Hamilton. We all know what Hamilton is capable of doing when he's healthy, and the Rangers should strongly consider extending considering all that they have invested in him. At the end of the 2012 season, the Rangers will have to deal with not only Hamilton's free agency but also Mike Napoli's, Colby Lewis‘, Yorvit Torrealba's and Mark Lowe's free agency. And depending if the Rangers exercise their options, they would have to deal with Ian Kinsler's and Scott Feldman's free agency. If the Rangers want to keep Hamilton around they should probably do it before he hits open market, because as he said, “Free agency is free agency,” Hamilton said to ESPN’s Jim Bowden (via Matthew Pouliot of NBCSports). “If they sign me now, it’d probably cost less. If they sign me there (free agency), it'd cost more. So we'll see.” Now, how much should the Rangers invest in Hamilton in the case that they want him back? Well, that shouldn't be too hard to figure it out as Hamilton will finish the 2012 season at just 31-years old but has been known as an injury prone player his entire career. His numbers though have been solid during his Major League career, except for the 2009 season, when he only played in 89 games due to injuries. The 30-year old outfielder is a career .308/.366/.543 with 118 HR's in 2263 AB's. His career OPS is .909 and was the 2010 MVP Award winner. His career VORP (Value Over Replacement Player) is 197.4 and his FRAA (Fielding Runs Above Average) is -8.7 throughout his career. Which means that he has cost the Rangers almost nine runs when he is in the outfield, but has produced about 197 with his bat. Hamilton signed a two-year, $24 million deal with the Rangers that covers the 2011 and 2012 seasons, and he'll probably try to sign a slightly bigger contract before the 2013 season. He has the leverage to ask for a raise, although not a huge one, given his substance abuse problems and recent alcohol relapses and his injury history. The Rangers have committed about $74 million for 2013 with Michael Young, Adrian Beltre, Joe Nathan, Yu Darvish, Cruz, Andrus, Leonys Martin and Holland, so they could offer Hamilton a $15-17 million per year deal and still stay below $100 million mark with those nine players, including Hamilton. The length of the contract shouldn't go beyond three, four years tops, because I believe that going beyond that would be way to risky for the Rangers. But I do believe that the Rangers should try to extend Hamilton, and that they should do it before he hits the open market. Image by Keith Allison under the Creative Commons License.
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