josh hamilton getty

Rangers’ co-owner would rather keep Josh Hamilton than sign Prince Fielder


Now that Yu Darvish is officially in the fold as a member of the Texas Rangers, much of the attention will shift to whether the club should also sign Prince Fielder.

The Rangers will soon have plenty of money coming in thanks to their new television contract, but the reality is that they might not be able to afford both Fielder and Josh Hamilton for the long-term. The 30-year-old Hamilton is under contract for $13.75 million in 2012, after which he’ll become a free agent.

Rangers co-owner Bob Simpson has an opinion on the matter. And he isn’t afraid to share it. According to Richard Durrett of, Simpson said following Darvish’s press conference last night that he would rather re-sign Hamilton than make a run at Fielder.

“We’ve got guys, frankly, like Josh Hamilton that I would love to see re-signed. My personal preference, at this moment, would be to re-sign him instead of having Fielder. But we could all debate that. The organization has its feelings. Everybody dreams about having both. Sometimes you can’t have both at some level. If they came around to something we’d do, we’d look at him. But we don’t think it’s likely.”

“He’s been considered, but given our set of cards, too pricey,” Simpson said. “If that were to change, I guess they’d look at it harder. Right now he’s priced himself out of what we could do.”

Fielder vs. Hamilton is an interesting debate, one which generated plenty of discussion earlier this week. All things being equal, it’s a pretty easy call to go with Fielder. In addition to being the more consistent hitter, Fielder is three years younger and has played in at least 157 games in each of his six full seasons in the big leagues. Meanwhile, Hamilton has averaged 114 games played over the past three seasons. Having Fielder through his prime seasons — weight concerns and all — maximizes the chance of value rather than keeping an injury-prone Hamilton into his mid-30s.

Of course, Fielder is likely asking for a much longer contract than Hamilton will, so these situations aren’t exactly the same. But given the choice, he looks like the wiser investment.

Tigers in discussions with Jordan Zimmermann

Jordan Zimmermann
AP Photo/Alex Brandon
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Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports that the Tigers are in discussions with free agent starter Jordan Zimmermann. His sources have told him that the talks have become “serious”.

Zimmermann, 29, has a career 3.32 ERA across parts of seven seasons in the majors. He finished fifth in National League Cy Young Award balloting in 2014, finishing with a 2.66 ERA and a 182/29 K/BB ratio over 199 2/3 innings.

Among starters who have amassed at least 1,000 innings since 2009, only Cliff Lee, Dan Haren, Madison Bumgarner, and Zack Greinke have compiled a better strikeout-to-walk ratio than Zimmermann’s 4.09. While he doesn’t have the star power of other free agents such as Greinke or David Price, the Tigers would certainly improve their rotation by bringing him on board.

Blue Jays still focused on upgrading their pitching

Marco Estrada
AP Photo/LM Otero

Having already added Jesse Chavez and J.A. Happ to the mix and re-signing Marco Estrada early in the offseason, Blue Jays interim GM Tony LaCava said the team will continue to pursue pitching upgrades, as Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith reports. Nicholson-Smith added that LaCava declined to comment on free agent ace David Price. It is believed that the Jays will not pursue Price and other big-name free agent starting pitchers given their November activity.

The Jays re-signed Estrada to a two-year, $26 million deal on November 13, acquired Chavez from the Athletics in exchange for reliever Liam Hendriks on November 20 and signed Happ to a three-year, $36 million deal on Friday.

Nicholson-Smith notes in a column on Sportsnet that the Jays need to address the bullpen in particular. That is especially true after swapping Hendriks, who had a career-best 2.92 ERA out of the Jays’ bullpen in 2015, for a back-end starting pitcher.

Report: Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”

Jonathan Papelbon
AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports spoke to an anonymous baseball executive, who said that Nationals closer Jonathan Papelbon is “untradeable”. The Nationals are hoping to trade both Papelbon and the man he displaced, Drew Storen.

Papelbon has a poor reputation in baseball, particularly after a dugout altercation with superstar outfielder Bryce Harper. Focusing strictly on what he does on the field, Papelbon still gets the job done. The 35-year-old finished the last season with a combined 2.13 ERA, 24 saves, and a 56/12 K/BB ratio over 63 1/3 innings between the Phillies and Nationals.

The Nationals owe Papelbon $11 million for the 2016 season.

Minor league home run king Mike Hessman retires

NEW YORK - JULY 29:  Mike Hessman #19 of the New York Mets bats against the St. Louis Cardinals on July 29, 2010 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City. The Mets defeated the Cardinals 4-0.  (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
Jim McIsaac/Getty Images

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper reports that corner infielder Mike Hessman has retired from professional baseball after 20 seasons. Hessman hit 433 home runs in the minor leagues, an all-time record. He broke Buzz Arlett’s record this past August and with style as #433 was a grand slam.

Hessman, 37, was selected in the 16th round of the 1996 draft by the Braves and remained with the organization through the 2004 season. He then went to the Tigers from 2005-09, the Mets in 2010, then drifted into the Astros and Reds’ farm systems before returning to the Tigers for the last two years.

Hessman took 250 plate appearances at the major league level, batting .188/.272/.422 with 14 home runs and 33 RBI.