Jeff Passan has a column up on the Rangers re-opening contract negotiations with Josh Hamilton. In the article, he editorializes this:
The most important thing to remember about free agency: All it takes is one team. One team to covet his talent. One team to dream he stays healthy. One team to crave his star power. Just one to take a sledgehammer to sanity.
That won't be the Rangers, at least not midseason. Paying free agency prices now would be madness. They would bank on their inherent advantages to settle on a deal short enough to mitigate the injury questions and lucrative enough to convince Hamilton it's worth signing.
Adam Morris, in responding to the story at Lone Star Ball, said this:
For all that has happened so far this season, I don't think it should change anyone's mind about what a team should be willing to pay Hamilton. He's played at an extraordinarily high level for the first month of the season. No one disputes that Hamilton is capable of playing at extraordinarily high levels. When he's locked in, its hard to say anyone is better than him.
But we knew that. What we don't know is how healthy he'll be over the next five, six, seven, however many years a contract would cover, and how long he'll be able to sustain star-level production. Those are the issues that make giving him the type of contract he's seeking so worrisome.
They're both right.
It's weird to talk about all this right now, because it feels contrary to how we should be acting about Hamilton. He is in the midst of an incredible month, following a historic game. Fretting about where he will be next year detracts from the enjoyment of what he's doing right now in this moment. Sort of like fretting about the World Series is a mistake when you should be enjoying the glow of a pennant; you never know if the next step will be as fun as the last.
It also brings about negativity, with folks trying to be rational and talking about all of Hamilton's flaws, at a time when being down on the guy just feels like being Debbie Downer.
But, hey, people are talking about it, so let's talk about it. Adam and Passan are both right, Hamilton is going to command an exorbitant fee. Adam cites Jon Heyman saying Hamilton wants at least $200 million.
$200 million for a guy with a questionable plate approach and troublesome injury history, and more seasons than not worth less than $20 million, all while hitting free agency at 32. You're going to clamor for that based on a great month and an amazing game?
This season, we have learned nothing we didn't already know about Josh Hamilton. He can be absolutely incredible when his approach doesn't hurt him and he's at 100%. Those two events just don't converge very often. When they do, it's spectacular, but there's no reason to believe they suddenly will as he gets older just because they have for a month.
Go ahead and be an emotional fan; it's super fun. I'd say put that emotion towards enjoying how great he is right now rather than arguing about where he should be in a year, but whatever, enjoy sports. Just recognize that your team's GM is best served keeping his emotions checked and dealing with potential transactions as just business, because that's how you keep dynasties alive.