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Josh Hamilton Rumors: Why the Texas Rangers Must Retain MLB’s Top Free Agent

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, no team has been more aggressive in pursuing free-agent outfielder Josh Hamilton than the Texas Rangers

After bearing the loss of slugger Mike Napoli (per John Heyman of CBS Sports), who recently signed with the Boston Red Sox, re-signing baseball’s hottest free-agent commodity absolutely must be the Rangers’ top priority this winter. 

Fortunately, that looks to be the case. 

Of course, it’s not going to be easy. Hamilton is reportedly searching for big money (what a shocker). USA Today’s John Perrotto reported in early November that he’s looking for something like seven years and $175 million.

For a 31-year-old with durability concerns and a checkered past, any contract in the ballpark of what Hamilton is looking for seems highly unlikely. Texas would be silly to offer him that type of money.

But here’s the thing: It’s highly unlikely anyone else will, either. 

Hamilton is this year’s big free-agent fish (as far as position players are concerned), and he knows there will be plenty of bait cast his way. There are a handful of teams expressing interest, and he even met with the Seattle Mariners (per Rosenthal and John Paul Morosi) at the MLB winter meetings. 

In 2012, he hit 43 long balls while knocking in 128 runs and scoring 103. He should be coveted. 

Even though seven years at $25 million a year seems outrageous (because it is), the Rangers would be wise to try and find a suitable alternative to make sure Hamilton stays put. 

Not only because Ron Washington simply cannot afford to fill out a lineup card in 2013 that doesn’t include Hamilton’s name, but letting him slip away to a potential AL Pennant contender would be a double whammy. 

Will the Mariners instantly become a threat to win the AL West if they bring Hamilton aboard? Doubtful. But with Oakland proving it can hang by winning the division in 2012, and the Angels remaining dangerous, the last thing Texas needs is Seattle breathing down its neck. 

Of course, there is no telling whether or not he would play in Seattle anyway, but the Rangers clearly don’t care to find out. 

Watching him head to Boston or New York (Yankees) would be just as painful. We have to believe both the Red Sox and Yanks are legitimate contenders—they always are. 

It is possible that Texas would prefer to save its money to send Zack Grienke’s way. The 29-year-old heads the list of free-agent starting pitchers and is certainly a very intriguing option. He’s a former CY Young winner with a career ERA of 3.77. 

But he’s younger than Hamilton and comes without baggage. Which means Greinke is the more likely of the two to rake in the big bucks. 

And that means the Rangers should be right there waiting if (and most likely when) Hamilton is forced to lower his unreasonable asking price.  

Does Texas need a solid addition to its pitching staff? Absolutely. But if Nolan Ryan is going to dole out $25 million a year (or anything close to it) to any one player, it should be Hamilton. 

USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reported in early November that the Rangers won’t offer Hamilton a contract for anything longer than three years, which will likely result in the two parting ways. 

As the winter meetings carry on, Texas may be reconsidering. 

I don’t believe an team will give Hamilton seven years, but four or five? Probably so. 

Can Adrian Beltre and Nelson Cruz supply the power to drive in enough runs without Hamilton in the picture? Cruz is 32 and before this year hadn’t played more than 128 games in any one year. Beltre has proven to be a wonderful addition but is heading into his 16th MLB season. 

Remember, when Josh Hamilton is locked in, he’s the best hitter in baseball. Nobody can match his production when he’s feeling it at the plate. 

Hamilton has gone completely cold at times, too, which is probably the only reason he isn’t touted as the best in the game. But the guy finished behind only reigning AL MVP Miguel Cabrera in HR and RBI in 2012—in either league. He’s hit more than 30 HR and 100 RBI in three of his past five seasons. 

The hot streaks more than compensate for the cold ones. 

If the Rangers intend on making a third World Series appearance in four years, they must find a way to re-sign Josh Hamilton. 

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MLB Rookie of the Year 2012: Young Stars Not Getting Enough Attention

I think we can all agree that Mike Trout took the baseball world by storm in 2012. I mean, how often does any player—let alone a rookie—ever challenge a Triple Crown winner for an MVP award?

Not since at least 1967, obviously. 

While Trout’s marveling rookie performance was undoubtedly one of epic proportions, the massive amounts of media coverage that would ensue left a few of baseball’s young stars and their own noteworthy rookie campaigns sitting in the dark.

Of course, Bryce Harper’s success on the senior circuit gained its fair share of attention, much like his comical interview responses. Yoenis Cespedes and Yu Darvish were often praised for their positive impact on the game as well. 

But what about the others? These were hardly the only first-timers making waves in the majors in 2012. 

Let us now look at a handful of MLB‘s lesser-known young stars in an effort to help them gain the attention they deserve. 


Wilin Rosario, C, Colorado Rockies

As a catcher, what Wilin Rosario accomplished at the plate in 2012 was absolutely remarkable. And honestly, how many baseball fans outside of Colorado even know who he is?

During one four-game stretch in September, the 23-year-old rookie racked up 12 hits—three in each game—becoming the first player in Rockies’ history to do so. This amazing feat prompted CBS Sports Baseball Insider Jon Heyman to let everyone know Rosario might be the best rookie you’re not hearing enough about. 

I concur. 

By all accounts, the Rockies have a budding star on their hands. In less than 400 at-bats (396 to be exact), Rosario smacked 28 home runs and piled up 71 RBI while batting .270 on the year. His 28 HR were more than any other catcher in baseball, and he missed 45 games of the season. 

Just think of how potentially dangerous the Rockies’ lineup will be if Carlos Gonzalez and Troy Tulowitzki can stay healthy. 


Wade Miley, SP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Moving from the plate to the mound, left-handed starting pitcher Wade Miley is another overlooked rookie destined for a lengthy stay in the big leagues. 

The 25-year-old pitched like a seasoned vet in 2012, finishing with a 16-11 record and an earned run average of 3.33. In 194.2 innings, Miley struck out 144 batters and miraculously walked only 37. His strikeout-to-walk ratio (K/BB) was No. 10 in all of baseball and better than any other rookie pitcher. 

What is perhaps even more impressive was Miley‘s 18 quality starts. Meaning, in 29 starts in 2012, he pitched six or more innings while allowing three runs or less in 18 of them. Ian Kennedy, another Diamondbacks’ pitcher—who won 20 games in 2011—only had 20 quality starts on the year.

While the strikeout totals won’t blow you away, there’s clearly a lot to like with Miley. Especially considering the lack of experience he brought with him into 2012, carrying only seven career big-league starts under his belt heading into the season.


Jarrod Parker, SP, Oakland Athletics

Jarrod Parker, a 23-year-old righty, was a teammate of Miley‘s in the Diamondbacks’ organization before a mid-December trade with the A’s brought him to Oakland. 

13 wins and a 3.47 ERA later, the youngster is now fully entrenched in the starting rotation. 

Parker performed so well over the course of the season, manager Bob Melvin handed him the ball in Game 1 of this year’s ALDS against the Tigers. Despite taking the loss, Parker allowed just two earned runs over 6.1 innings and earned the right to toe the slab in a decisive Game 5 as well. 

He was knocked around a bit in his second career postseason start, giving up seven hits and four earned runs in another 6.1 innings. Nonetheless, it was a gutsy effort on one of baseball’s biggest stages. 

Whether or not the A’s will retain his services for long is another story, but it remains evident the former ninth overall pick in 2007 has a bright baseball career ahead of him. 


Todd Frazier, 3B, Cincinnati Reds

Have the Reds found themselves a long-term starter to pair with first baseman Joey Votto in the corners of the infield? 

Todd Frazier staked his claim for the gig in 2012. 

The 26-year-old third sacker didn’t see much playing time in the early months of the season, but hit over .300 in the months of July and August and tallied a combined 40 RBI in that 55-game span. For the year, Frazier hit 19 HR and 67 RBI while maintaining a respectable .273 average. 

Will it be enough to garner NL Rookie of the Year honors? I wouldn’t count on it. Expect Miley‘s impressive season on the mound to get a solid look, too, although it’s probably Harper’s award to lose.

Nevertheless, Scott Rolen appears to be on the verge of retirement (per USA Today’s Bob Nightengale), leaving an opening at third base in the Reds’ infield that Frazier is destined to fill, especially if he can continue to improve his defensive play. 


Add Brandon on Twitter: @B_Burnett49er

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Yankees vs. Tigers: CC Sabathia Will Lead New York Back into ALCS

Just two games after CC Sabathia’s series-clinching gem in Game 5 of the ALDS, the Yankees and their lifeless bats have dug themselves into a substantial hole. 

Making the trek to Detroit down two games to none wasn’t how Joe Girardi‘s club had envisioned its ALCS experience starting out. And replacing the irreplaceable Derek Jeter for the duration of team’s playoff run was probably the last thing on the skipper’s mind.

Nonetheless, MLB postseason history has shown us time and time again that it’s never actually over until your opponent is in the midst of a celebratory champagne shower. 

Now, preventing Justin Verlander—the reigning AL MVP, who seems to have finally found his playoff groove—from navigating his way through a stagnant lineup in Game 3 at Comerica Park will be no easy task. But even if the Yankees do fall into a seemingly insurmountable 3-0 deficit—all is not lost. 

Sabathia is slated to toe the slab in Game 4, and his own run of dominant pitching could be the shot of energy this squad needs to wake up from its ALCS slumber. 

Sabathia has wins in each of his three starts against the Tigers this year and has now gone at least eight innings in five straight starts dating back to September 21. He allowed no more than two runs in any of those outings. 

In the ALDS against the Orioles, CC was masterful, turning in 8.2 innings of two-run baseball in Game 1 and then shutting the door on Baltimore’s unexpected playoff appearance by hurling a complete game gem (nine strikeouts and one run allowed) in Game 5. 

He’ll square off against Max Scherzer on Wednesday, which, like facing Verlander, doesn’t bode well for the Yankees and their struggling bats. But if Sabathia continues his torrid pace, he won’t need much support to get the job done.

It’s been documented (per Jason Beck of that Detroit’s sluggers haven’t had much success against left-handed pitching this season. So, that alone is one reason to remain optimistic about New York’s chances of making this series, well, a series. 

Following the lefty Sabathia will be Andy Pettitte in Game 5 if New York can indeed avoid a sweep. The 40-year-old vet is another left-handed starter, and one who was able to hold the Tigers lineup scoreless through the first five frames of Game 1 before surrendering a pair of runs in the sixth. 

Girardi will hand the ball to Hiroki Kuroda if the Yankees can stretch it to Game 6, and Sabathia is set to pitch Game 7 at Yankees Stadium on three day’s rest if they can even the series at three games apiece (assuming the Tigers take one of three at home)

Obviously, pitching hasn’t been the Yankees biggest problem; the brunt of their struggles lies at the plate—not on the mound. The back half of the batting order has been piling up strikeouts at an alarming rate and the beef up front hasn’t been doing much to stem the tide.

But one dominant performance is all it takes to swing postseason momentum in your favor. And even if it comes from a pitcher, hitting can feed off of that energy as well. 

If the Yankees can get past Verlander and see CC take the mound down 2-1 in the series instead of 3-0, this ALCS is far from over. Even if the outcome is the latter of those two, the ace may still be able to find a way to keep his team afloat. 

At least he’s guaranteed the chance. 

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Rangers vs. Orioles: Josh Hamilton Blasts Record-Tying 4 Homers in 1 Game

If he wasn’t already, Josh Hamilton is now your early front-runner for AL MVP.

The 30-year-old Texas Rangers superstar put not one, not two, not three, but four—yes, four—home runs into the seats at Camden Yards on Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles.

Hamilton’s line for the evening: 5-for-5, 4 runs, 4 HR, 8 RBI.

To put that into perspective, New York Yankees superstar second baseman Robinson Cano has less home runs (two) and an equal amount of RBI (eight) for the entire season.

Hamilton compiled that (RBI) and more (HR) in one day’s work.

The four home runs is a feat that hasn’t been matched since Carlos Delgado of the Toronto Blue Jays whacked four bombs on Sept. 25, 2003. Hamilton’s 18 total bases for the game is an American League record and just one base shy of the Major League record.

For the season, Hamilton now sports a .406 average with 14 HR and 36 RBI. No other American League slugger has reached 10 HR so far this year, and the Blue Jays’ Edwin Encarnacion is next in line for RBI at 25.

Unless Hamilton breaks his arm again sliding head first into home plate (don’t see that happening) or suffers any other type of setback, the AL MVP race may not be as tight as we once thought.

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Detroit Tigers: 5 Reasons Motown Shouldn’t Stress Concerns at the Corner

In the past couple of weeks, every ounce of excitement directed toward the Detroit Tigers has been matched with equal amounts of criticism.

The Tigers made arguably the biggest splash of the offseason, catching the baseball world by surprise and inking star first baseman Prince Fielder to a contract lasting nearly a decade. The nine-year, $214 million deal signed by Prince will provide Detroit with endless options in the lineup and the field.

Some of those options however, aren’t exactly considered to be favorable choices. Fielder’s arrival will push Tigers’ current superstar slugger, Miguel Cabrera, back to his original position at third base.

Perhaps the fear of facing Miggy and Prince in succession is what has critics suddenly zeroing in on just how the infield transformation could destroy Detroit’s title hopes. But I sense the move has some Tigers’ fans concerned as well.

Maybe the fact that Fielder and Cabrera finished dead last together in fielding percentage, among qualifying first basemen in 2011, has kept the some of the celebration at bay. Or possibly the letdown in ’07 that followed a World Series appearance and the massive trade that brought Cabrera to Detroit, re-appearing in the minds of Detroit’s followers.

But fear not fans, the Tigers will be just fine in 2012 and beyond. And here’s why:

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