Josh Hamilton is recovering from hernia surgery, but in the meantime the former MVP told Jean-Jacques Taylor of ESPN Dallas that he would like to sign a contract extension with the Rangers before Opening Day.
Last winter the Rangers bought out Hamilton’s final two arbitration-eligible seasons with a two-year, $24 million contract, so he’s now one season away from free agency at age 31.
Hamilton stressed that he loves playing in Texas and isn’t giving the Rangers any kind of ultimatum, adding “it always comes down to being treated fairly … treat me fair and don’t come in with no ridiculously low stuff.”
Hamilton has missed 73, 29, and 41 games during the past three seasons and committing big money through his mid-30s would be a big risk for the Rangers, but when asked about how much money it might take to get a deal done Nolan Ryan replied: “I don’t have a feel for what that is right now.”
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.