Rangers “shopping” Josh Hamilton?
With the winter meetings underway, Brian Cashman is in search of a corner outfielder. While he’s sure to touch base with the camps of Johnny Damon, Mike Cameron, Matt Holliday, Curtis Granderson, and possibly even Jason Bay, according to George King of the NY Post, a new corner outfield option is potentially available via trade and that outfield option is none other than the powerful Josh Hamilton. In his latest, King informs us that the Rangers are “said to be shopping” Hamilton, yet notes that “clubs aren’t biting” (I’ll discuss this momentarily). Now, King doesn’t explicitly or implicitly connect the Yankees to Hamilton, of course (“clubs aren’t biting” is fairly specific), however, I’m sure that the reformed outfielder will be linked to the team at some point, as the Yankees try to cobble together their outfield.
Hamilton, 28, is obviously a talented and productive player, one that could be a valuable asset to any team, including the Yankees. He provided the Rangers with a remarkable and memorable campaign in 2008, hitting .304/.371/.530 while slugging 32 home runs and driving in 130. In 2009, however, Hamilton’s season was marred by a bevy of injuries. A set of bruised ribs, a pinched nerve in his back, and significant inflammation brought on by “Pars defect” — a vertebrae issue Hamilton has experienced since childhood — are just a few of the conditions that sidelined Hamilton for much of the regular season and hurt his overall production. Over 89 games, the miscast center fielder — defensively, he’s a better corner outfielder — only hit .268/.315/.426 with 10 homers and 54 RBI. Needless to say, it wasn’t a very good season after a banner year in 2008. Therefore, while Hamilton is clearly a very talented player, that talent only shines when he’s fully healthy, a state of being one might view as a rarity for the young outfielder.
Upon a review of Hamilton’s health issues — there are many — and when one considers the possible sobriety concerns he could have in a big city like New York (for those that are unaware, Hamilton is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic), I don’t think the lefty-handed slugger is a realistic trade target for Brian Cashman (in my opinion, it would be a bad move). Thus, these negative traits explains why clubs “aren’t biting.” In this particular case, the tremendous risks seem to overtake Hamilton’s tremendous talent and he would probably be a poor investment. Still, he is available, according to King, and I’m sure his availability will generate some conversations amongst Yankee fans eager to speculate about the future of left field in Yankee Stadium (a welcoming park for a powerful lefty).
Photo by Getty Images