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Men predict free agent destinations, God says “hah!”

Sep 17, 2012, 1:00 PM EDT

josh hamilton getty Getty Images

Today Buster Olney speculates about where Josh Hamilton may wind up.  He runs through any number of teams, notes that there are either fit or payroll problems, and ultimately lands on the Tigers, noting that (a) they have a spot in left field for Hamilton: and (b) they have recently been something of a free agent wild card, going big money and multiple years on Prince Fielder, who many thought would also pose a long-term/durability risk like Hamilton does.

It’s as fair a guess as any other team, I reckon. But — and I am in no way picking on Olney here when I say this, because it’s fun to guess — handicapping free agent destinations seems like more of a sucker’s game now than it ever has been.

I’m struggling to think of the last top shelf free agent who landed where most people suspected he’d go as the season came to an end. Pujols was supposed to go to Miami, wasn’t he? Cliff Lee was supposed to land in New York.  CC Sabathia preferred to stay on the west coast.  And that all worked out … differently.

I think such predictions are going to be even harder going forward than they have been. Mostly because of the new world of TV money we’ve talked about so often over the past year. The teams we think have money and the teams we think are broke are changing pretty rapidly. The risks associated with long-term, nine-figure deals aren’t as great as they were even a few years ago.  There are probably more players for top free agents now than there ever have been.

Which is not to say that Josh Hamilton will be the subject of a bidding war.  Indeed, he does have issues and even if more teams can take risks on a guy like him, it doesn’t mean they will. If anything, teams are wiser about such things now than they ever have been.

Ultimately, though, it only takes one team to give Josh Hamilton or someone like him a big deal. And, if recent history has shown anything, guessing which team that will be beforehand is damn nigh impossible.

  1. gbpxlvi - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    Brewers

  2. gloccamorra - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:20 PM

    You’re going to be a stick-in-the-mud the whole off-season, aren’t you? Outside of Las Vegas and Wall Street, baseball is where speculation belongs, especially in the off-season.

  3. redsoxsabres94 - Sep 17, 2012 at 1:53 PM

    *quietly waits for comment about how there is no God*

  4. raysfan1 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:23 PM

    Right now, I don’t see him leaving TX.

    • stex52 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:29 PM

      Who? God?? (That ought to start some trouble here.)

    • SOBEIT - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:40 PM

      So you’re saying it’s going to be the Astros?…well they are moving to the AL.

      • stex52 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:51 PM

        Astros claim to be firm in their commitment to building from within. Even if they break that, I don’t see Hamilton as what they are looking for. He is the kind of free agent you add to a strong team to put it over the top. For the kind of money he will probably get, they could get three or four role-players who would help them through the transition. I just don’t see that. And the Rangers would do whatever they could to prevent that in any case.

      • paul621 - Sep 17, 2012 at 10:30 PM

        Skeeters

  5. snipedanglecelly13 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:34 PM

    Tigers:) lll give tigers some extra cash to get him lol

  6. snipedanglecelly13 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Tigers:) I’ll give the tigers extra money to get him lol

  7. snipedanglecelly13 - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:38 PM

    Sorry for double post lol

  8. antlerclaws - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    As a Rangers fan, my hope is that if he can’t stay a Ranger, he at least goes to an NL team. I was having a discussion with my family a couple of weeks ago where I said there are a lot of current Rangers I could stand to see in another uniform. Kinsler, Young, Andrus, Cruz. But for some reason it would just rub me all kinds of wrong to see Josh Hamilton playing against the Rangers.

  9. dwaynehosey - Sep 17, 2012 at 2:56 PM

    Red Sox have both the budget and the need….

    • woefulsoxfan - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:26 PM

      yeah.. know what would be cool? if the sox signed Hamilton, a player we’ve coveted for years, and paid him a boatload of money to be the future of the franchise. We could pair him with the OTHER player we coveted for year, and paid a boatload of money to be the future of the franchise. Josh and Adrian can hang out, and go to barbecu–wait? what? oh. frig.

  10. JB (the original) - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:25 PM

    Oh, come on. We all know damn well who it’s going to be….
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    The “Mystery Team”, of course…..

    • sknut - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:40 PM

      How can the mystery team afford him? they must have a billion dollars in contracts at this point. Luxury tax be dammed the mystery team will out spend everyone.

  11. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Sep 17, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Nats. This is the best way to apologize to the fan base for shutting down their ace for the stretch run.

  12. billymc75 - Sep 17, 2012 at 4:47 PM

    He will land in DC next year

  13. thegonz13 - Sep 17, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Find owners with deep pockets and that’s where free agents will go.

    If you pay him, he will come…

  14. schmedley69 - Sep 17, 2012 at 8:35 PM

    I hope that it doesn’t happen, but I wouldn’t be surprised if my Phillies go after him. Ruin Tomorrow Jr. was recently quoted as saying that “I don’t like our lineup …. we need more power.” Signing a free agent to a long term contract is a big risk to begin with, and signing a guy with Hamilton’s off field issues increases that risk by a lot. Don’t do it, Rube!

  15. adiddie - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:06 PM

    Twins….Bahahaha

  16. jayquintana - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:11 PM

    I wish more players were like Jared Weaver, if you’re in a good situation, there’s no need to go for the biggest contract available.

  17. Marty - Sep 17, 2012 at 11:49 PM

    The Dodgers are going to go balls deep.

  18. xjokerz - Sep 18, 2012 at 4:31 AM

    Why are we bringing up a fake ghost like god Into this ? Let’s pretend there was a god, do you think he would care about some guy about to make 100 million? ” blessed our the poor ” … Sorry hamilton, your god is not letting you into heaven

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