MLB Trade Rumors has taken the difficult task of ranking the top 50 members of this year's free agent class -- and predicting where each player will sign.
Needless to say, there's going to be lots of varying opinions on how the free agents are ranked, and that's perfectly fine. At the least, it gives fans some loose guidelines on how this free agent class is seen, value wise.
The folks at MLBTR not only believe that Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton is the No. 2 free agent in this year's class, but they also believe that Hamilton is going to re-sign in Texas.
Hamilton is a fascinating free agent, combining superstar talent with a lengthy injury history and early-career drug problems. It's going to take a special kind of recklessness to guarantee this man $150MM, and the Dodgers' outfield is already full. This early in the offseason, people toss around speculation on the Tigers, Giants, Phillies, Mariners, Orioles, and Brewers, matches that don't work for me. Though the Rangers won't make Hamilton an offer right out of the gate, he's expected to circle back with them after surveying the market. If Texas has not allocated big money to Greinke at that point, they could go back to the table with Hamilton.
There is an excellent point in there -- that there is no clear market for Hamilton, and that he'll likely have a difficult time finding astronomical contract that he's looking for.
However, Hamilton returning to Texas seems extremely unlikely. The Rangers aren't likely to match whatever the top offer is on the market, and it does seem likely that the Orioles or Giants will make Hamilton a sizable offer that the Rangers simply won't want to match.
Hamilton's free agency is eerily similar to C.J. Wilson's last year. Wilson was the anchor of Texas' staff in 2011, and the Rangers made him a relatively lame offer, and didn't bother to budge, and instead, let him walk and sign with the Los Angeles Angels.
It seems like the Rangers are poised to take the same route with Hamilton -- make one offer that works best for the club, and if Hamilton doesn't take it, the Rangers will move on accordingly.
For what it's worth, MLBTR only accurately predicted where eight of last year's top 50 would sign.