Yeah, Ruben Amaro Checked in on Josh Hamilton
Fuck B.J. Upton rumors. This is more Ruben Amaro’s speed. That’s not to say I agree with it, but let’s kick this tire: Bow-tie man Ken Rosenthal checks in with his first Phillies-related hot stove report of the winter. This one, predictable:
They want a center fielder, and their preference is thought to be B.J. Upton. But the Phillies also are pursuing Cody Ross and other outfielders, and GM Ruben Amaro Jr. said, “We’re keeping all of our options open.”
Hamilton would appear to be a stretch, both from a financial and baseball perspective. But two industry sources say the Phillies are quietly checking on him. While their background work might only be due diligence, Amaro loves to make a splash, loves to surprise.
The fit isn’t great; the Phils frankly need a right-handed hitter more than another left-handed one. On the other hand, Hamilton had an .853 OPS against lefties last season. Upton, a right-handed hitter, was at .792.
The final word: Phillies general partner David Montgomery is probably too image-conscious to seriously consider Hamilton, and the team already has $135.6 million committed for next season, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts.
Not really. Josh Hamilton facts: He’s 31 and is going to command a substantial, roughly seven-year, $175 million deal. He nearly ruined his career and life with drugs and alcohol and, as a result, may be in better (less miles), or worse (more tracks), shape than other 31-year-old baseball players. He’s had two relapses even after his 2008 breakout performance at the Home Run Derby. He’s missed at least a month of a baseball in three of the past four seasons.
I know he’s the big, sexy name, and perhaps for a year, or two, would make the Phillies legitimate contenders again. But too risky. I would have been all for signing him in 2010. Not now, not after what I saw last season. The Phillies are old, need change. Cole Hamels is really the only guy you can count on for the next five years. Everyone else is a question mark after two, at best. Signing Hamilton only makes the Phillies older, more burdened by massive contracts. If two of the following three applied, then maybe I would be more into the Phillies going after him: 1) he was 29 or younger, 2) he wasn’t a risk to piss his life and career away by suffering yet another relapse, and 3) his durability wasn’t a question, both because he’s missed time with injury and because there isn’t a large sample size of baseball players in their mid and late-30s who were once heavy drug users.
Also, because of his religion and substance abuse problems, respectively, doesn't sign autographs on Sundays and can't celebrate with champagne. No one wants that.