Rumors during the baseball offseason should be taken with a grain of salt, even better, a whole salt shaker full of salt. Baltimore, it is said, have Josh Hamilton on their shopping list. And now Seattle is linked to the troubled outfielder. Hamilton reportedly wants a seven-year deal for $175 million. That is $25 million per season.
If Josh were a tea totaling, God-fearing, all-american eagle scout, who helps old ladies across the street, reads Dr. Seuss to cancer ridden children without TV cameras present, had a tattoo free body, loved Lawrence Welk music, and was 26 years old, that would be great deal.
We know none of that is true. Injuries limited him to 89 games in 2009, 133 games in 2010, and 121 games in 2011. But the big problem is Mr. Hooch. There have been alcoholics who have played baseball and many were successful. Hamilton has been a great hitter. He averages 35 homers over the last six years with 122 RBIS. That is production. He hit 43 in 2012 with 128 RBIS and a .285 average.
Terrific numbers. Alcohol is still a problem though. He has fallen off the Ranger horse a couple of times. To his credit, he fessed up, apologized, and got back on the horse. When you combine injuries, which can be a risk for any player, and Mr. Hooch, you have a high risk factor.
The biggest problem though is that he is 31 years old. If he insists on a 7 year contract, you are paying $25 million a year to a player through his mid-thirties up to 38. In baseball parlance you are paying way to much for a player whose best years most likely are behind him. Yes he still has three to four years where he could be very productive. But after that you are paying for a baseball senior citizen whose production is unlikely to be worth the money.
The Mariners gave big dollars to Chone Figgins. It probably was the biggest waste of money in Mariner history. If Hamilton bombs out like Figgins that could be devastating to the franchise. But the Mariners must do something. They need to make a big splash. They need to start winning. They need a bat. And they have the money.
Alex Gordon and Billy Butler from Kansas City would be good fit for the Mariners, but maybe the M’s could use a little bad boy image. If you are a riverboat gambler you say roll the dice. I am thinking it might be worth the roll. But then it is not my money.
I wonder if the Mariners have those dice in their grubby hands. I wonder if they are rolling them around in those sweaty palms. Are they going to roll them?