Here we go. Coming off a report from last week that the Phils kicked Josh Hamilton’s tire, Buster Olney tweets the following:
The Phillies are OK with the high annual salary that Josh Hamilton might command, but they have concerns about the length of the deal.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) November 12, 2012
It’s always an issue of finding the perfect size and length, she said.
Reports say Hamilton is looking for a deal somewhere in the seven-year, $175 million range (aren’t we all?). At 31, that would lock him up until he’s – math man! – 38. That’s old. So, the question: Is 38 too old for a guy who used to stick needles in his arm at an alarming rate?
On one hand, Hamilton, thanks to his drug problems, didn’t play baseball from 2003-2005, and started his Major League career in 2007, at 26. That means he has fewer baseball miles on his body than a guy who slugged around the minors or played in the bigs during his mid-20s.
On the other hand… he was drinking and doing drugs those years. So, his body may be worse off than others his age.
And that’s the issue– it’s not about money anymore. The Phillies have silly amounts of it and they’re about to get a massive local TV contract in 2015. They can afford another $25 million-per-year deal. But do they want to lock up another over 30 player, albeit a superstar? I says no. Hamilton is too risky. As we’re seeing with Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, and Alex Rodriguez, baseball isn’t kind to guys once they start approaching their mid and late-30s. Literally the last thing the Phillies need is another aging star with a massive contract. And they certainly don’t need one who is a legitimate relapse risk, something Hamilton has done twice since recovering from his substance abuse problems.
Olney also mentioned that the Phillies are talking with Cody Ross, who can go fuck himself.