Wednesday, May 9, 2012
What is Josh Hamilton worth?
By Richard Durrett
BALTIMORE -- Now that Josh Hamilton has managed to add to his impressive resume with his historic performance on Tuesday, his stock price has to be entering Apple territory.
The Texas Rangers want Hamilton to be with the club long-term, and the two sides continue to discuss that. But it's actually not easy to quantify exactly what Hamilton is worth. When healthy, he's, well, ridiculous. He's already got one AL MVP Award and as we sit here in May, he's on his way to another (with plenty of season left). You name an offensive category in the AL and he likely leads it. In fact, if the season ended today, Hamilton would be the Triple Crown winner. He's got a league-high 14 homers, 36 RBIs and .406 batting average.
So will he join Prince Fielder and Albert Pujols with huge free-agent deals? Not likely. Fielder got nine years and $214 million from the Tigers, while Pujols got 10 years and $240 million. Both of those players were not only two of the top hitters in the game (like Hamilton), but had a history of staying healthy and a longer track record. Fielder turns 29 years old today. Pujols is 32.
Hamilton has been healthy for one full season in his career, in 2008. He played 156 games that season and hit .304 with 32 homers and 130 RBIs. He turns 31 later this month.
But when healthy, is there a better player in the game right now? Pujols is making an average of $24 million a year and Fielder is at $23.7. But both of those are based on extremely long terms. Hamilton is certainly worth at least $24 million a year right now. And since it's highly unlikely he'll get a nine-year deal, teams may have to pay even more per year to get him at a shorter term.
So what's his worth? If he gets a four- or five-year deal, is $28 million out of the question? Is he worth $30 million? Perhaps there's a way to negotiate a club option or even a vesting option based on games played.
You get to be the Rangers' front office and Hamilton's agent. What's a fair deal for Hamilton? What is he worth? (Fire away in the comment section).