There have been few players in the recent history of free agency that have been such an interesting case as the former MVP outfielder. On the one hand, there are few players in baseball as talented as Hamilton. Though his speed has come down a bit, he’s accurately described as a five-tool player, and his power, in particular, is other worldly.
On the other hand, there are few players who have ever carried as much baggage as Hamilton. Though the man’s drug-addicted life may soon make a great movie, Hamilton’s history and ongoing demons don’t bode well for the kind of long-term trust needed for a team to invest in a long-term deal.
And such is the riddle with Hamilton: do you bank on the man’s skills, or remain wary of his addictions?
Complicating the matter is Hamilton’s injury history, which is extensive. 2012 was actually the high-water mark in the outfielder’s career in games played, with 148. Before that, however, Hamilton hadn’t played that many games since 2008, his first season with the Rangers.
Another mitigating circumstance is Hamilton’s extreme streakiness. During 2012’s first two months, Hamilton posted slugging percentages over .700 and OPS marks nearing 1.200. However, in July he dipped all the way down to .354 and .609.
Nonetheless, when he’s at his best Hamilton is capable of carrying a team like few other players. At 31 years old, is he worth the risks? Do you want to see Hamilton patrolling the Fenway outfield next season?