After posing this question via twitter, a debate ensued between myself and several Met bloggers including our own Joe D. and Brandon Butler. I thought I would ask the MMO faithful this same query: Would you do anything to sign Josh Hamilton next winter? Even if it meant losing David Wright? Personally, I think it is something to consider.
Now that the Rangers have inked Japanese fireballer Yu Darvish to a major contract, the chances of them making a push for Prince Fielder has decreased significantly. When asked about their chances of signing him, GM Jon Daniels said “I’m intimately aware of our budget and it’s very unlikely”. Does that mean that it is also unlikely that they would be able to re-sign their franchise slugger Josh Hamilton? It’s a possibility.
If Texas cannot re-sign Hamilton, –who stated he doesn’t want to have extension talks once Spring Training begins– he will hit free agency next winter. If that happens, the Mets would more likely than not be out of the running due to financial constraints. But should they freed up some cash, say decline Wright’s 2013 option or trade him before this July 31st deadline, that might create enough space in the budget to ink the superstar outfielder.
Wright has been showing signs of decline since his underwhelming 2009 campaign. His defense has regressed, his strikeouts are up and has lacked that x-factor that made him the superstar he was in 2005-2008. With not only his regression, but the Mets as a whole, there is the school of thought that there needs t be a change in leadership, a new face of the franchise. Could Hamilton be that face?
We all know Hamilton’s incredible story of addiction and recovery that ultimately led him back to where he belonged: On a baseball field. It would go without saying that he would be a positive influence on the younger players and be a clubhouse leader, but Hamilton does come with an element of risk. Despite being one of the top hitters in the game, his injury history is something of concern. The Raleigh native, although making four straight all-star squads, has not had a fully healthy season since 2008. Not only that, but when he hits free agency, he will be entering his age 32 season, not exactly a spring chicken.
But if I were to chose between the two, I would have to go with Hamilton. Both carry a certain amount of baggage, but when it comes down to pure talent, Hamilton has the edge. He is a leader, enormously talented, scrappy and above all is a winner. Yes by the time he would finish a contract he’d likely be in his late thirties and yes something would have to be done with Bay, but the Mets need a player to build around. They need a leader to turn this franchise around, and Josh Hamilton is better suited and better qualified for that task.