The Milwaukee Brewers are seriously considering making a run at free agent Josh Hamilton, CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports.
Hamilton’s two-year, $24 million deal with the Texas Rangers is expiring, and the outfielder will be one of the more interesting free agent cases we’ve seen in years.
The Brewers reportedly are interested, and Milwaukee believes they have an advantage over most clubs.
Milwaukee’s hitting coach is Johnny Narron, who served as Hamilton’s “accountability partner” with the Rangers and Reds from 2007-2011.
Narron was hoping for a better job in baseball, and he received that opportunity from the Brewers. It was with his assistance that Hamilton developed into an All-Star and won AL MVP in 2010.
Without Narron around, Hamilton had some troubles throughout the year. He had an alcohol relapse in February, reportedly struggled with caffeine problems, and infamously began slumping when he attempted to quit chewing tobacco. Rangers owner and president Nolan Ryan criticized the timing of Hamilton’s decision to attempt to quit. Ryan was also critical of Hamilton when the slugger struggled at the plate in July.
It seems like the Rangers are willing to let Hamilton leave in free agency and, based on the boos he received, it seems like the fans won’t miss him, either. Big-market teams like the Los Angeles Dodgers, Angels, and Boston Red Sox reportedly will not be interested. The San Francisco Giants could be interested, and you can never count out the New York Yankees (though Hamilton in NYC would be a nightmare). Milwaukee has offered $100-million contracts to other players in free agency in the past, so they might be willing to do it again.
Hamilton’s past issues with addictions, coupled with his erratic health, could make teams leery of making a big financial commitment to him. That might just open things up for a team like the Brewers.
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