The Curious Case of Josh Hamilton

by Bill M on November 14, 2012 · 1 comment

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This piece is not meant to chastise Reds fans with what might have been if they hadn’t traded Hamilton for Edinson Volquez.  Josh Hamilton is the top free agent on the market this year, and he has some peculiarities to his situation that make him even more interesting than your average top free agent.

Hamilton has said through his representation that he is seeking a 7 year, $175 million salary ($25 million annually).  With his history of substance abuse, the well documented struggles he continues to have on occasion, and durability issues, the general punditry has scoffed at this length of contract.  Nobody disputes his ability or the annual salary, just the years.  I read mostly 5 year deals at the same annual salary, but the reality is that you make up for fewer years with a higher annual salary.

I see is 4 years, $120 million ($30 million annually) being the best for both worlds.  This would save the team $55 million and three years of obligation…and it’s the years tied up with obligation that scares teams more than annual dollars.  Hamilton would be just 35 when the contract is over, rather than 36.  One year, yes, but 35 is a lot more attractive to teams willing to give a 3+ year deal than 36 or 37.  Just ask Torii Hunter this year.  He’s 37 and just hoping to get a 1-2 year deal with a winner.  At 35, assuming Hamilton performs to the same level and doesn’t have a major relapse, he should still be able to get a 3 year deal at big dollars.

Plus, with the baseball revenues set to expand massively across the board with the next wave of local television contracts, $25 million annually might be a pittance for player of Hamilton’s skills by 2017.  In essence, if he has confidence in his abilities, he could make a lot more money taking a shorter contract for more annual salary now than locking into a 7 year deal.  Here’s to hoping he figures that out.

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Trent November 14, 2012 at 1:23 pm

It is not cool to be taking shots at Reds fans right now. Give me until spring training to recover.

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