The Boston Red Sox have a number of holes to fill on their roster but among the top priorities should a power bat in the middle of their lineup. There is one player who could alleviate those concerns and give the power a boost if the Red Sox are willing to open up their checkbooks: Josh Hamilton.
Hamilton figures to be atop many teams wish list this offseason as the Texas Rangers outfielder crushed 43 home runs and batted in 128 RBI’s. He’d fit in well in the Red Sox order with David Ortiz.
However, there are some concerns about Hamilton as he comes with some baggage. Earlier in his career, he battled demons with drug and alcohol problems and some wonder if he can stay clean. He also still goes through some spells where fans wonder just what’s going on in his head. They see the potential when he crushes 12 home runs, bats in 32 RBI’s and compiles a 1.187 OPS in the month of May. Then they wonder what’s going on when he produces just four home runs, 11 RBI’s and a .253 average in the month of July.
The Red Sox front office has been coy about how they are going to address the batting lineup. They’ve openly stated that they traded away a lot of production but they’ve also said that they are going to be diligent about how they spend their money.
Although Hamilton looks like a good fit on paper, don’t be surprised if the Red Sox avoid him. They’re coming off two seasons where clubhouse problems torpedoed the team. The last thing they want is to invest another $20 million per season into a player that can bring them down again.
The media, fans and MLB odds makers have even been suggesting that Hamilton might sign a deal that pays him in the neighborhood of $25-$28 million. That might be too steep a price tag for the Red Sox, who want to make sure their acquisitions can help the team on and off the field.