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  1. I choose Price Fielder

    Comment by Eminor3rd — January 16, 2012 @ 4:41 pm

  2. same, Prince is such a better bet than Josh. It’s not even close in my mind

    Comment by K N — January 16, 2012 @ 4:54 pm

  3. When you are looking at making a $100+ million commitment to a player you certainly can’t forget that he spent 4 years on a drug and booze bender I’m not a medical expert but I would imagine there still might be negative repercussions from the stress he put on his body during those years – it may take him longer to recover from injuries, his liver or kidneys or other organs may not be in great shape or his body might be ‘older’ than his actual age, and latent medical issues may manifest themselves in the future, etc. He appears to be on the right path now, but the threat of a relapse is always lurking. So I think a team would have to get a further discount from what they would give a typical 31-year old with his playing and injury history to make it a worthwhile risk.

    Comment by corvelay — January 16, 2012 @ 5:05 pm

  4. As one of about 7 Reds fans who isn’t upset about trading Josh Hamilton, I will say now what I said when the Reds did trade him…. don’t trust a drug addict. Let’s be upfront about this…. The Reds and Rangers have both hired and paid for, what is essentially a babysitter for Josh Hamilton because they don’t trust him to not have one. The guy is a GREAT baseball player when he is healthy. But I wouldn’t hand him any kind of contract with anything near those terms. His own wife won’t even let him carry two $20 bills in his pocket.

    Prince Fielder doesn’t have a good body type for aging. But I would gladly put my eggs in the basket that he can still mash for the next 7 years over handing out a contract to a player with the warts that Josh Hamilton has on his resume.

    Comment by Doug Gray — January 16, 2012 @ 5:13 pm

  5. I don’t give an addict a long term deal. He’s done great, but you can’t trust him

    Comment by Terry Boers — January 16, 2012 @ 5:21 pm

  6. I would say it has more to do with not giving a 30 year old who has missed 140 games in 3 years a 5 year deal than it has to do with him being a former drug addict.

    Comment by Colin — January 16, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

  7. Is that thing about his wife true/where can I read that? If so, that is really fascinating.

    Comment by Uncle Randy — January 16, 2012 @ 5:27 pm

  8. Those are some sour ass grapes you’ve been eating.

    Comment by I Agree Guy — January 16, 2012 @ 5:28 pm

  9. Fielder seems like the risk adverse choice/more likely to perform up to a $100+ million contract. Hamilton’s injury issues may force him to 1b or DH, and if you take out the defense aspect of the 2 players, Fielder hitting skill is better. You never know though, Hamilton could be another Paul Molitor, another athletic player who had his own drug/injury issues.

    Comment by Nate — January 16, 2012 @ 5:39 pm

  10. Ranger fan here. its correct that Josh is not allowed to carry cash. He was a heroin addict and once a heroin addict your always a heroin addict. Also meth, crack whatever crap he was doing. I like Josh but he has already talked about his “responsibility” to sign a market level deal. While I have no problem with that I think his baseline for a deal will be at least what Werth recieved which texas would be smart to not consider and i think if Fielder hit in Texas his numbers at least for 3-4 years would balloon to something like .300/375/600 and as shown he plays every day. Easy choice IMO…

    Comment by Aggie E — January 16, 2012 @ 5:47 pm

  11. Hamilton’s going to be a really interesting case. There aren’t many other superstar-level players that have overcome serious drug issues (as in, forced him out of the game temporarily) and returned with ferocity of Josh.

    I think he’s going to aim high and miss on his contract. He just doesn’t have comparables. I think his best offer is going to be from the Rangers, given their knowledge of his situation, and if he decides not to take it, he’s going to get mostly short-term deals (say 3/60) from other clubs.

    Comment by ToddM — January 16, 2012 @ 5:49 pm

  12. Either that or some serious contractual language that voids everything in drug-related situations. I guess that could work if it’s legal.

    Comment by ToddM — January 16, 2012 @ 5:50 pm

  13. I agree. He has been clean enough to stay on the baseball field (when healthy) but if that turns bad then you could be looking at a monumentally bad contract to be carrying. This is a substantial risk that is probably even harder to quantify than injury.

    Comment by MikeS — January 16, 2012 @ 5:59 pm

  14. Nope. He is a fan draw and will get paid at least a 5-6 year deal from some owner. Only takes one. We see what Werth and Crawford recieved. A former MVP and big draw will get paid especially if he has a monster season in 2012…

    Comment by Aggie E — January 16, 2012 @ 6:06 pm

  15. I’m a Ranger fan, but even if healthy, I’m not keen on long term deals to players over 30, and Josh’s helath history is terrible, so the odds that his production decline is steep are very good. No thank you. A 2 year deal with some team options, yes, but that’s as far as I can imagine. If somebody wants to give Josh a Werth-like deal, adios Josh.

    I’m pro-Fielder, but 6 years tops, preferably 4 or 5. It lessens the loss of Josh and probably Napoli and Nelly Cruz, plus it keeps Michael Young off the field more. The only big negative is it means less ABS for Napoli this year.

    Comment by TexPantego — January 16, 2012 @ 6:07 pm

  16. I get that people think he’s a risk because of his drug addictions, but if the Rangers don’t sign him long term I wouldn’t be surprised if he did much better than 5/110. Have you seen the free agent market for hitters next season? Yuck.

    Comment by ben — January 16, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  17. Prince. Longer track record. Better hitter. Might eat himself to death, but whatever. Legitimate playoff team, give Prince whatever it takes to sign him and go for it.

    Comment by Brian — January 16, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  18. We’ll see. Werth and Crawford don’t have drug issues. That was my point. Hamilton can’t pack ‘em in if he isn’t on the field, and owners know that.

    Comment by ToddM — January 16, 2012 @ 6:15 pm

  19. “Given Fielder’s defensive and base running limitations, he is the sort of player for whom his offensive runs above average is the same as his runs above replacement, so even accounting for a bit of attrition, five or six wins seems about right.”

    I suppose that’s true if he got a hell of a lot better at running and fielding since we last saw him. What has gotten into everyone’s heads this offseason? Fielder is a good player with an enormous red flag. His contract is going to be an absolute disaster.

    Comment by cpebbles — January 16, 2012 @ 6:23 pm

  20. Sour grapes?

    Why would I have sour grapes about it?

    Comment by Doug Gray — January 16, 2012 @ 6:31 pm


    “He rarely carries more than $10 in his wallet, and never more than $20.”

    That story doesn’t talk about his wife there, but while he was with the Reds, I read that somewhere (though can’t find it via google).

    Comment by Doug Gray — January 16, 2012 @ 6:34 pm

  22. If you’re already a WS contender, it’s worth it

    Comment by Brian — January 16, 2012 @ 6:56 pm

  23. Napoli had about 450 ABs last year and thats probably where he needs to be. he could catch about 85-90 games and DH 40-45 games and play 1st base 3-5 games and still get 450-500 ABs…

    Comment by Aggie E — January 16, 2012 @ 7:06 pm

  24. Not sure why. there are plenty unathletic 1st basemen getting paid crazy money.

    Comment by Aggie E — January 16, 2012 @ 7:07 pm

  25. Yes, he will eat himself to death with his vegan menu. Man, that’s a lot of roughage and tofu.

    Comment by MEAT227 — January 16, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

  26. What’s the point of playing him 3-5 games at first and risk injury because he’d be at a position he doesn’t play much?

    Comment by Franklin Stubbs — January 16, 2012 @ 8:27 pm

  27. Just because somebody else would do it, it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. Can you name a $100mm contract to a player over 30 that’s turned out to be a good idea? Let him walk.

    Comment by Franklin Stubbs — January 16, 2012 @ 8:29 pm

  28. Prince is a big guy, but he’s not a fat guy. Give him some credit for the work he’s put in.

    Comment by Franklin Stubbs — January 16, 2012 @ 8:30 pm

  29. So you made it up or imagined it basically.

    I’m sure you have some sort of qualification to justify your sweeping generalizations.

    Comment by DavidCEisen — January 16, 2012 @ 8:34 pm

  30. But not that can be had for team x.

    And I’ll take an unathletic 5 WAR player over your very athletic 2 WAR player.

    Comment by Brian — January 16, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  31. 2010 AL MVP? 2 straight AL pennants?

    Comment by jim — January 16, 2012 @ 9:02 pm

  32. Didn’t that only last like half a season?

    Comment by Brian — January 16, 2012 @ 9:03 pm

  33. Just jokin around. Prince is awesome.

    Comment by Brian — January 16, 2012 @ 9:04 pm

  34. gonna be tough for a guy with a .390 career OBP and over .400 3 years in a row to balloon it to .375

    Comment by jim — January 16, 2012 @ 9:05 pm

  35. Not offhand, but if he helps you win a WS, it’s worth it. Same with Pujols.

    Comment by Brian — January 16, 2012 @ 9:06 pm

  36. definitely take fielder, especially when you look at several good OFs set to hit the market next year

    Comment by jim — January 16, 2012 @ 9:08 pm

  37. Fielder, and it’s not even close. Younger, healthy, hell of a bat, and I think the discussion of his weight is overblown. He’s a big guy, but he’s not a slug, and he always shows up ready to play baseball. I think the case for Fielder is solid without even worrying about Hamilton’s past drug use.
    I think the Rangers should sign Fielder, if only because they’re probably going to get a bargain they wouldn’t get in any other year.

    Comment by Oliver — January 16, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

  38. that depends on your definition of “good idea”

    Comment by jim — January 16, 2012 @ 9:10 pm

  39. “I think the discussion of his weight is overblown.”

    this is the key; people have said the same things about sabathia’s weight for years, and look at him, keeps on trucking, at the far more difficult job as well

    Comment by jim — January 16, 2012 @ 9:11 pm

  40. I think the better question is (ignoring need for a sec), “Darvish or Fielder?”

    Comment by Oliver — January 16, 2012 @ 9:12 pm

  41. Why not Darvish AND Fielder???

    Comment by Wait Til Next Year — January 16, 2012 @ 9:39 pm

  42. Did everyone miss the 80s when cocaine was a MAJOR problem in baseball?

    Some pretty good players were using drugs regularly, and I can think of one team in particular that was famous for partying hard on their way to a WS victory. 2 of their key players ended up having major drug problems.

    IMO, Josh’s durability is a greater issue than his drug use (or addiction). He’s like the MLB’s version of Ben Roethlisberger, he’s always battling some ailing or nagging injury.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 16, 2012 @ 10:35 pm

  43. @ Doug —

    That allegation about his wife is outlandish. For you to take a comment about him not carrying much cash in his wallet and take the great leap to state, emphatically, that his wife won’t allow it and use that bit of conjecture to imply that it’s because even she doesn’t trust his sobriety is borderline slanderous.

    Comment by chuckb — January 16, 2012 @ 11:11 pm

  44. Hamilton is too brittle physically and emotionally. The odds of him being injured or off the wagon Y2Y are high. Fielder is no Prince either with his weight, especially in the latter years of a deal.

    Comment by pft — January 16, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

  45. Don’t know if you’ve ever heard of Darryl Strawberry or Lawrence Taylor, Michael Irvin? Probably haven’t heard of those guys. They abused while in their prime. Hamilton has his deal much more under control.

    Comment by MikeN — January 16, 2012 @ 11:17 pm

  46. Didn’t make it up. Just because it isn’t easily available to find online doesn’t mean it isn’t true. The Cincinnati Enquirer makes you pay for stuff older than a year, so you won’t find it there unless you subscribe and use their archaic search engine, which is downright terrible. So, if the only newspaper in Cincinnati is where the article I read was at, then I am not going to be able to find it.

    Comment by Doug Gray — January 17, 2012 @ 12:54 am

  47. Why would I be bothered by what Hamilton did for the Rangers?

    Comment by Doug Gray — January 17, 2012 @ 12:56 am

  48. There is no such thing as a former drug addict.

    Comment by Doug Gray — January 17, 2012 @ 12:56 am

  49. I imagine it would be doable, because if he fails a drug test, he is out of baseball for good I believe, as it would be his third strike.

    Comment by Doug Gray — January 17, 2012 @ 12:58 am

  50. There’s a big freaking difference between a recreational coke habit (which is what most MLB users had, although some were more serious) and what happened to a young Josh Hamilton.

    Dude drugged himself completely out of the minor leagues for a few years. He was basically living under a bridge. Read his story. Crazy stuff to come all the way back from that to win a MLB MVP.

    Comment by ToddM — January 17, 2012 @ 1:14 am

  51. Greed is not good.

    Comment by Brian — January 17, 2012 @ 1:46 am

  52. There is no planet on which Figgins is a better player than Prince based on their numbers.

    Comment by Brian — January 17, 2012 @ 1:51 am

  53. From a pure business standpoint Hamilton is a much more attractive option as a gate attraction. He is regularly one of the highest vote-getters at the All-Star game on a national basis and is beloved in Texas.

    Comment by Phantom Stranger — January 17, 2012 @ 2:06 am

  54. Hamilton is older. Not only is he older, but he has a history of injuries. Not only does he have a history of injuries, but he also has a drug and alcohol history, which I’m sure has long lasting affects. Not only all that, but he sort of killed someone. This shouldn’t even be close. Fat friendly Fielder fiercly fighting fastballs any day of the week.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 17, 2012 @ 2:32 am

  55. He sorta killed someone? Is that a joke? He threw the guy a ball…

    Comment by ericpalmer — January 17, 2012 @ 2:51 am

  56. Awesome awesome article. Really tough choice tho. I think Fielder gets the edge with durability but if Hamilton could just stay healthy, it wouldn’t even be close. I think the Hamilton deal has a greater chance of being a good deal for the Rangers but it could also turn out to be an absolutely horrible deal. The Fielder deal will be bad for the Rangers but it doesn’t have as much potential for reward or risk. Depends if the Rangers are feeling lucky or if they want to play it safe. I say sign both and go all in. It’s a big market and they need to spend a little more.

    Comment by Pete Rose HOF 2012 — January 17, 2012 @ 3:53 am

  57. He kind of killed someone?? You are an absolute idiot. The guy didn’t have to reach for the ball over the railing. IT was just a $1 baseball. He assumed all risk when he went for that ball. It’s like calling an owner of a sky diving place a murderer because someone died when jumping out of a plane. Get a brain u idiot. To call Josh Hamilton a murderer when he lives with so much guilt every single day is just ignorant.

    Comment by Pete Rose HOF 2012 — January 17, 2012 @ 3:58 am

  58. hey doug you might want to rethink that. for your information that article was written in 2008, just 2 years after he became sober. now its 2012. hes still addict and thats always a risk but its amazing how much more successful faith-based recoveries are than others. i would consider it a risk but to talk about his wife not letting him carry a $20 bill in 2008 and labeling him a huge risk because of addiction is outrageous.

    Comment by dannyrangers32 — January 17, 2012 @ 9:58 am

  59. HAHAHAHAHAHAAAHAAA. sorry i cant help but laugh. sorry. but really. wow.

    Comment by dannyrangers32 — January 17, 2012 @ 10:01 am

  60. aggie, he never even tried heroin, let along addicted to it. he even specifically says that in his book that it is completely incorrect what the media says about him being a heroin addict. meth either. completely cocaine and crack.

    Comment by dannyrangers32 — January 17, 2012 @ 10:03 am

  61. @doug: fifth

    Comment by dannyrangers32 — January 17, 2012 @ 10:04 am

  62. WOW. you really really absolutely blame josh for that??? do you know how many players throw balls to fans? hamilton doesnt even do it too often. i dont think im even gonna argue with you this is just ridiculous

    Comment by dannyrangers32 — January 17, 2012 @ 10:12 am

  63. Feed the troll much?

    Comment by Los — January 17, 2012 @ 10:19 am

  64. Ever hear of Dwight Gooden, Ricky Williams, or John Daly?

    Past instances of substance abuse are a legitimate concern when you’re considering paying someone $100 million.

    Comment by Charlie Furbush — January 17, 2012 @ 10:45 am

  65. Actually, my point was not that the Rangers should extend him. My point was that Hamilton shouldn’t take that extension (that is, if money is his main priority).

    Comment by ben — January 17, 2012 @ 11:03 am

  66. Problem is, there will come a day when the Rangers’ rotation isn’t dirt cheap.

    Comment by ToddM — January 17, 2012 @ 11:12 am

  67. Dwight Gooden checked into rehab. His career was ruined by an arm injury.

    So, we know of a few guys whose careers have ended possibly due to drugs.

    Now, what % of the pool of drug using athletes are they?

    There have been athletes that have committed murder. There have been athletes that have been killed in car accidents (some drunk, some not) … there have been strange ends to careers in a variety of ways. Drug addiction IMO hasn’t shown itself to be vastly more detrimental to the chance of a player’s career ending than driving, drinking, etc.

    The username was Terry Boers, so my assumption is that it’s a joke/troll. He’s a radio piece on 670 the Score. Unfortunately, I know that.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 17, 2012 @ 11:48 am

  68. Flamilielderton.

    Comment by Slartibartfast — January 17, 2012 @ 12:10 pm

  69. because he didn’t do it for the reds….

    Comment by jim — January 17, 2012 @ 12:32 pm

  70. you’re new around here, aren’t you brian?

    Comment by jim — January 17, 2012 @ 12:33 pm

  71. “I didn’t make it up, there is just no empirical evidence that what I said is true.”

    Comment by DavidCEisen — January 17, 2012 @ 1:22 pm

  72. Quit beating around the bush – the relevant question here is can Prince Fielder eat Josh Hamilton, and if so, would we notice? I think the answer is yes and you betcha.

    Comment by Don Mynack — January 17, 2012 @ 2:38 pm

  73. I was thinking more of guys like Tim Raines, Lonnie Smith, etc.

    Raines was smiffing coke out of his wristband and diving headfirst so he wouldn’t smash vials he kept in his back pocket, if reports are correct.

    IMO, the 80s in sports featured far more than just recreational coke use.

    However, your point is made, rarely did any stars use themselves completely out of baseball.

    I was disagreeing with the idea that they would refuse to give him a contract because of the fear that he might relapse into a drug frenzy that would propel him downward and out of baseball … again.

    I think they would have many “in between” steps in that process. He may have a relapse where he uses drugs or even goes a day or two spree. But, that could all be contained within the contract, just like some contracts eliminate the possibility of riding motorcycles and/or playing pick-up basketball.

    Comment by CircleChange11 — January 17, 2012 @ 2:50 pm

  74. There is no such thing as a fact backing the opinions of Doug Gray.

    Comment by Baltar — January 17, 2012 @ 3:08 pm

  75. “Former addict” strikes me as the correct term to describe someone who used to use drugs but hasn’t for many years, not “addict.”
    AA mumbo-jumbo runs deep.

    Comment by Baltar — January 17, 2012 @ 3:12 pm

  76. OMG OMG AHHH, he said Josh Hamilton killed a guy….with a trident….let us shun him.

    Comment by Colin — January 17, 2012 @ 3:16 pm

  77. Brian, at least 25 players help any given team to win a World Series. At $100M+, that would require quite a payroll.

    Comment by Baltar — January 17, 2012 @ 3:17 pm

  78. Is Josh Hamilton a vegetable?

    Comment by Baltar — January 17, 2012 @ 3:19 pm

  79. Is it amazing? Or is it marginal?

    Comment by Josh H — January 17, 2012 @ 5:15 pm

  80. Unless I missed it, no one has pointed out the obvious solution to Hamilton, which is a contract loaded with playing time incentives. If he’s healthy he gets the money, and will be worth it. If he’s not healthy he doesn’t get the money. I also suspect that, if a player is unable to perform because of drug related problems, there is some clause in the standard contract that lets him be suspended without pay.

    Comment by Jim Detry — January 17, 2012 @ 7:24 pm

  81. For what its’ worth, the articles I’ve seen indicate that this is a self-imposed restriction of holding less than $20. And his per-diem is managed by one of the coaches, so he doesn’t get more than that.

    With that said, I don’t see why people are up-at-arms over Doug’s claim that he read an article at some point that said his wife had something to do with that rule. Haven’t you ever had a fight with your wife, then made a rule together to avoid it in the future? I’d imagine over years of drug abuse, they’ve had more than their share of fights… just saying. There’s only so many times you want to send your significant other out for a gallon of milk, only to find them sometime next week strung out on someone’s couch.

    With that said, so long as he keeps to his rules and has his system in place, I don’t see any reason why he should relapse. Plenty of people kick the habit for good. It’s not like they’re cured, but they keep things structured so they don’t use and maybe someday they don’t feel the urge as much anymore.

    Comment by B N — January 17, 2012 @ 8:01 pm

  82. I’d never take Figgins, since it’s clear from the last two years he suffers some sort of infield-batted-ball addiction. Maybe if he seeks help and shows he can stay off the weak-contact for a year or two, but for right now I wouldn’t touch him. :)

    Comment by B N — January 17, 2012 @ 8:04 pm

  83. He didn’t do it against the Reds either, so it doesn’t bother me one bit. It would be one thing if he did it for the Cardinals, but for a team they don’t play in another league? Maybe you would be bothered by that. I am not.

    Comment by Doug Gray — January 17, 2012 @ 9:27 pm

  84. Clever. But that simply isn’t correct at all. I would expect someone who reads fangraphs to be smarter than to suggest something like that based off of one statement, that hasn’t been disproven at all. Yes, it hasn’t been proven either.

    Comment by Doug Gray — January 17, 2012 @ 9:29 pm

  85. it was a joke, settle down. It’s my morbid sense of humor. You guys are so serious, I tried really hard to show that I wasn’t serious in the post. Next time I’ll put (joking) after.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 17, 2012 @ 9:55 pm

  86. Am I the only one on here who likes drugs?

    Comment by bcp33bosox — January 17, 2012 @ 9:56 pm

  87. You think Hamilton will take that contract? What if another team offers him a guaranteed contract? He knows his injury problems too.

    Comment by Antonio Bananas — January 17, 2012 @ 9:57 pm

  88. Today is not a day that I am proud of the comments at Fangraphs.

    Comment by JDanger — January 17, 2012 @ 10:52 pm

  89. Love that Hamilton has an addiction and shouldn’t be given a long-term deal, but the guy who weighs in at about 300 pounds and has been morbidly obese for nearly his entire life somehow doesn’t have an addiction and is a safer signing.

    Comment by Feeding the Abscess — April 23, 2012 @ 4:41 am

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