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In case you hadn’t noticed, Josh Hamilton is having himself a nice year

May 9, 2012, 9:43 AM EDT

Josh Hamilton Reuters Reuters

Josh Hamilton’s four-homer game last night puts him here as of this morning:

.406/.458/.840 with 14 homers and 36 RBI.

That places him well ahead of everyone in all three triple-crown categories and — close your ears, stats people — on pace to break the single-season home run record and RBI record, all while matching Ted Williams’ average from 1941.

No, of course he’s not going to do that because baseball doesn’t work that way and mid-May through late September still count in the stat-lines. But the magnitude of awesomeness emanating from Hamilton’s bat is something to behold.  For a player who always seems a hair’s breadth away from disaster, Hamilton is, so far anyway, putting up one of the better contract walk-years in recent memory.

Which makes it understandable that a lot of people are talking about his contract status this morning.  He’s poised to be a free agent at the end of the season. He’s kicking butt and taking names. But that’s exactly why the Rangers should do absolutely nothing about his contract at the moment.

It’s negotiation 101: you do not start talks with a person at the moment their leverage and stock is at its absolute highest.  You wait for things to settle down and for your position to improve. Hamilton will not, shockingly, hit four home runs a game that often.  And if history is any guide, he will spend some time on the disabled list this year, reminding everyone that he is a risky investment even when he’s playing his best. And that’s before we get into his substance abuse history.

So shelve the contract discussions, everyone. Nothing productive can come of them for the time being because the Rangers aren’t dumb and they’re not going to get swept up in some sort of “Oh noes! We might lose Josh Hamilton!” panic just because he had a huge game.  To the contrary, they’re going to wait until things calm down and the risks and rewards of signing Hamilton can be reasonably assessed.

In the meantime, they’re gonna enjoy the Josh Hamilton laser show.  Just like everyone, with the exception of the opposing pitchers, should too.

  1. antlerclaws - May 9, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    By my admittedly fuzzy math, he’s on pace to hit, what, 80 home runs? And if we only factor in only the last 2 nights, he’s on pace to hit like 1000 home runs.

  2. miketreedy - May 9, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    He has amazing talent. It seem that its just been hard to line up his health, mind and timing all at the same time. When it is he’s the best player in baseball. This could be very special year if he stay healthy.

  3. texasdawg - May 9, 2012 at 9:59 AM

    A couple of my favorite Hamilton stats right now:

    1) Hamilton would have to go 0 for his next 210 to match Pujols’ current SLG. (h/t Jeff Passan)
    2) Hamilton has 14 HRs. The San Diego Padres have 12.

    Joey Matches summed up last night’s performance well: Josh Hamilton broke baseball.

    • b7p19 - May 9, 2012 at 11:09 AM

      *sigh* I still love my Padres

  4. jdub01984 - May 9, 2012 at 10:04 AM

    Maybe they can’t detect HGH or testosterone levels when you have a BAC of .15 or higher. Maybe thats why all these baseball players drink so much.

    • heyblueyoustink - May 9, 2012 at 10:38 AM


  5. mybrunoblog - May 9, 2012 at 10:27 AM

    A supremely talented player but a VERY risky long term investment. Hamilton will want at least a six or seven year deal. He will be almost 32 years old by next April, he plays hard but is injury prone. Hamilton has missed significant time on the DL or sitting out games due to injury over his career. With these thoughts in mind the pink elephant in the room is his substance abuse and the real risk that the guy could fall off the wagon at any time.
    No NL team will touch this guy in free agency because he is a future DH considering his being injury prone. Me? If I were a GM I would tread very carefully. Rangers fans rightfully love this guy but think about oh……2015 when his making $24 million a year to DH or worse sit on the 60 day DL……Very risky….

    • florida76 - May 9, 2012 at 11:04 AM

      Hamilton is a risky long term investment even if he stays on the wagon. His lengthy history of alcohol and drug abuse means we don’t know how this player has aged himself, and we could see a faster deterioration of his physical abilities than anyone knows. It’s too bad Hamilton isn’t 27, he’s fun to watch.

  6. The Dangerous Mabry - May 9, 2012 at 11:27 AM

    For anyone who believes in the magic of the Contract Year, doesn’t it make sense for a team like Texas, who’s trying to win this season, to wait on signing Hamilton, so he’ll be able to continue his amazing play? I mean, if players are really that much better during walk years, it seems like you’d be an idiot to sign them to an extension early and take away the magic.

    Or maybe the Contract Year is a myth, and Hamilton’s just playing great ball because he’s a great ballplayer when he’s healthy. Either way I guess.

  7. ezwriter69 - May 9, 2012 at 12:19 PM

    Only a matter of time until he misses 30-40 games, it happens every year… remarkable talent, but made of glass. He’ll be gone during the heart of the season, as he always is.

    • wendell7 - May 9, 2012 at 1:31 PM

      let’s hope not

  8. mungman69 - May 9, 2012 at 2:14 PM

    Hey: I hear that the Phillies would be interested.

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