Despite the fact that Josh Hamilton has been one of the premiere hitters in baseball over the last three seasons, the Texas Rangers are only willing to offer Hamilton a three-year contract, according to various reports.
Hamilton is believed to be seeking a seven-year deal, and if true, Hamilton's time in Texas is almost certainly over.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels has said his club is mapping out scenarios for life with and without Hamilton, in case he doesn't return.
"We'll visit with him probably next week," Daniels said, according to the USA Today report. "Whatever the process that they wanted to go through, they were going to do. I'll get a sense of that when Mike (Moye, Hamilton's agent) and I talk.
"Outside of that, I'm kind of in the dark. I can't really say."
Hamilton will enter his age 32 season in 2013. It's dangerous to offer long-term contracts to any players, but especially players on the back-end of their prime, and especially players with off-field issues, such as Hamilton.
Of course, if teams throughout baseball are only willing to extend Hamilton three-year offers, then Hamilton could very well remain in Arlington through the 2015 season. Since Hamilton is the top free agent bat, it seems likely that at least one team will make Hamilton a long-term offer. The Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners and Baltimore Orioles are believed to have interest in signing Hamilton this winter.