Josh Hamilton and The Rumor That Will Not Die | Disciples of Uecker

Disciples of Uecker

We'd like to go to the Playoffs, that would be cool.

We’ve been through this before.

In all likelihood, the Milwaukee Brewers won’t be signing Josh Hamilton this offseason. There’s a lot of reasons why, and we’ve already gone through a lot of them
here at DoU. Yet for whatever reason, this is this year’s Rumor That Will Not Die.

Remember last year, when Jon Heyman (among others) was reporting that the Brewers were “said to be targeting Jose Reyes?” If you don’t remember, it was right around this time last year, as this SI.com post from November 7 shows. A month later, Reyes was sporting a Miami cap after signing a deal that could be for as much as 7 years and $124 million. The Brewers were never a true contender for him, as the Marlins were virtually bidding against themselves and the money was never really there for Milwaukee to sign him. A week after Reyes signed with the Marlins, the Brewers signed Aramis Ramirez to a modest-in-comparison $36 million deal.

This year, Heyman is again linking the Brewers to the top free agent on the market. This headline says “Brewers seriously thinking about making a play for Josh Hamilton.” It’s easy to joke about a headline like that. Of course they’re thinking about it. Doug Melvin & Co. are likely formulating their plans for the offseason, and anything that could improve the team should be on the table. That would probably include “Hey, Josh Hamilton is really good, it’d be great to have him, and that” talk. But that’s about where things stop making sense.

Last year, the Reyes rumors at least made a little sense because the Brewers needed a shortstop. There’s no such positional need for Hamilton this year. With Hamilton’s injury history, putting him in center field wouldn’t be the smartest idea, and that’s before you even start to look at the metrics (granted, he’s only played in roughly 950 innings in center over the past two seasons) and realize you’re taking away a great deal of Carlos Gomez’s value. If the Brewers were to play Hamilton in right field, that would take away playing time from Norichika Aoki, or force Aoki to center, where he’s also a defensive downgrade compared to Gomez.

Then there’s the issue of money. Even with all of Hamilton’s off-the-field and injury problems, the winning bid for him is still likely going to approach $20 million per year (he made $13.75 million this year). Between Rickie Weeks, Corey Hart, Ryan Braun, Aramis Ramirez and Yovani Gallardo alone, the Brewers are on the hook for $48.8 million in 2013. In 2014, even if Hart leaves for free agency, that number will be $50.5 million.

Look at it this way: the Brewers cannot add Hamilton for the price he’s likely to command and be on the hook for $70 million for just five players in 2014. If $100 million is “operating in the red” territory for Mark Attanasio, you cannot expect Melvin to fill the other 20 spots on the roster with $30 million. Jonathan Lucroy will make over $2 million that year, John Axford and Marco Estrada will be in their second year of arbitration, and Mat Gamel and Brandon Kintzler will be in their first year of arbitration. Attanasio is willing to operate in the red for a winner. As a successful business man, it’s doubtful he’d be willing to hemorrhage money for one.

Considering Hamilton has only averaged 134 games a year over the past three years (cutting it off there is actually doing him a favor, with only 89 games played in 2009) and with no DH available in the National League, that’s just too much risk for a team like the Brewers to take on.

Considering all the time he’s missed and the uncertainty of his health going forward, Hamilton would be better off taking the biggest deal he can, not settling for comfort. A reunion with the Narrons would be a nice story, but at this point it’s still more fairy tale than reality.

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. SecondHandStore says: October 26, 2012

    With the new TV deals the red-line should rise. I imagine next year the Brewers could operate at the $100 million mark and still be in the black. It should rise again in 2014 when all of the TV deals come into effect. I imagine the Brewers should eventually be able to operate comfortably in the $120 million area and push that further in special cases. That being said I absolutely agree the Brewers need to NOT sign Hamilton. If they do indeed have money to spend it’s still going to have to be spent wisely(this winter: bullpen and starting rotation).

    I have been thinking a lot about this though: If clubs are going to be getting something like $40 million extra a year (I don’t have the report in front of me so the actual numbers are probably different) from those TV deals we might want to spend (seemingly) big now. If the clubs have more money to spend, contracts are eventually going to catch up with that. So what might seem like an overpay now, might be closer to ‘fair market value’ going forward. It would also allow us to get a ‘star’ level player now, when offering the same contract in 5 years might not be enough to lure him. Specifically, I’m thinking about Greinke here. What did they offer him? Something like 5 years $115 million? That seems like, and is, a hefty contract. But in 5 years it might not seem so ridiculous. Look at Ryan Braun’s contract for an example. Maybe they should offer Greinke the 7 years $140 million he wants, or whatever it might be. It might seem like too much now, but it also might look just about right a little ways down the line. Might even look like a bargain. By the way, I’m just spit balling numbers here and they aren’t meant to represent what I think will or should be the real numbers. I really don’t know.

    • Luke says: October 26, 2012

      The last time I made a comment about the TV deal, somebody on here told me it had already been done. However I can’t find any details on it at all. All I have read about is the possible 200% increase in TV revenue that I read about on Bernie’s Crew….

      • SecondHandStore says: October 26, 2012

        It’s definitely a really complicated subject. There is the local TV deal, the ESPN deal, the FOX deal, the TBS deal, and the MLBN deal. I think the local TV deal was finished up either before this season or before last season and I don’t know too much about it, but it’s a sort of sliding scale based on viewership with a set base. The ESPN deal goes into effect next year. The rest goes into effect the 2014 season. I just don’t have the actual figures. I can try and look them up but I cannot for the life of me remember what site I was on.

      • Nicholas Zettel says: October 26, 2012

        The local TV deal was indeed finished, but there was some provision that allows the deal to increase in the coming years. NYT reported that it should triple for 2013; depending on how low “less than $10M” is, the Crew should have between $15M and $27M of local TV revenue next year. (http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/01/sports/baseball/mark-attanasio-goes-all-in-on-the-brewers.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0)

        This A’s blog puts together the new TV deals, and an estimated merchandise (and other media) figure at $75M/team starting in 2014.
        (http://newballpark.org/2012/09/05/news-for-9612/)

        A recent article on TV rights that I saw (finding link) mentioned that the revenue sharing pot was $400M for MLB in 2011. The NYT article mentions that the Brewers received ~$20M from that a few years back.

        Looking at all of this, it should be clear that the Brewers should be able to sustain payrolls near or slightly above $100M in the coming years (of course, depending on how they allocate other resource for their club).

  2. brewers55 says: October 26, 2012

    Please no Hamilton. I dont want his stupid “im a sober christian and im better than everyone” attitude that he brings. He always injured, and plus we had the best hitting lineup in the nl last year. We need pitching, not some injury prone, strike out prone, hitter.

  3. Nicholas Zettel says: October 26, 2012

    For sheer baseball reasons, I’m not sure signing Hamilton at this point in his career is the best idea. There are arguments to be made that Gomez and Aoki, while no Hamilton, suit the Brewers’ power/speed attack in ways that Hamilton won’t. That might seem like a silly position in a way, but the Crew’s offense just got warmed up last year; what might Gomez and Aoki be able to accomplish during an entire season together?

    Also, I gather that Hamilton will cause the Brewers to forfeit their first round pick. I’m not sure how I feel about that, given that they’re not likely to receive a pick for Marcum (or K-Rod).

    • Jdezzy says: November 5, 2012

      The way I understand the new CBA signed last year doesn’t give compensation picks like the old CBA did. For example when the Brewers lost a Type A Free Agent like Prince they got an extra 1st round pick + a pre-second round pick (their pick, the Tigers 1st rounder and a Sandwich Pick before the 2nd round starts – type B just got the Sandwich pick). In the NEW CBA, players are not ranked Type A and Type B – So the Brewers will not get a pick for losing KRod or Marcum like in the past, because they didn’t make them “Qualifing Offer” – if they made a QA to those guys and they took it, the Brewers would be on the hook for $13.5 for each of them. Let’s say the Brewers kept Greinke for the season and gave him a “qualifing offer” (Average of the top salaries of the top 125 players this year $15.5MM) and he signed with another team the Brewers would get his new team’s pick. Likewise if the Brewers signed Hamilton because he was offered the $13.5 by the Rangers the Brewers would forfit their 1st round pick next June. So by losing Marcum, K-Rod, Loe, Parra, T-Plush etc… they get no draft compensation.

  4. Deadhead says: October 26, 2012

    I hope this nonsense isn’t true. I’m so looking forward to seeing what CarGo and Nori can do in a full season.

  5. BOB says: October 26, 2012

    The ONLY way the crew would sign him is if he played first base!! With that said their are too many STUPID owners who will OVER PAY for this guy so the crew don’t have any chance of signing him to begin with…

  6. Philboyd says: October 29, 2012

    Please spend all available money on pitching. Not on an outfielder, where we’re already set.

  7. CJ says: October 31, 2012

    it would be fun to see for 2013 or maybe 2014 but beyond that, he could very well turn into A-Rod 2012. Aoki and Gomez are not a given to produce how they did in 2012. So it would be fun for a year or two. Hamilton’s offensive binges are like Corey Hart’s but last for a month or two at a time. I think in 2010, the year he won the MVP, he hit .400 for four straight months and missed the last month of the season and still won MVP. He did pretty well in 2012 too. If we could do a three year deal then heck yes. But there is as much chance of that happening as the Tigers winning the World Series.

  8. Chris K in Sheboygan says: November 6, 2012

    No,no, and no. No Hamilton. There is only one scenario that this plays out to me and its with Hart traded for a pitcher and Hamilton in turn signed to play first base…Can Hamilton play 1b? And the pitcher the Brewers acquire for Hart would have to be a net gain for team payroll wise gain meaning reduce. Two, this works on a 3yr deal only like Ramis. For Hamilton any deal less than 5years hurts his overall pay potential. He ends up hurt/relapses within the 3yrs what value could he possibly command then? When he’s probably fetching 20mil guaranteed years 4&5 with his likely signing? It’s a delusional world to think a ballplayer his capability would sign some 3yr deal with Milw.

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