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

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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 ESPNDallas.com, 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.

Odúbel Herrera has homered in four consecutive games

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Phillies outfielder Odúbel Herrera produced what proved to be the game-winning hit on Wednesday afternoon, drilling a go-ahead solo home run to right field off of Cardinals reliever Sam Tuivailala in the bottom of the seventh inning. The Phillies went on to win 4-3, as the bullpen actually held on to a lead for once.

Herrera has now homered in four consecutive games and in five of his last six contests. The major league record is eight consecutive games with a home run, held by Don Mattingly, Dale Long, and Ken Griffey, Jr. The Phillies record is five consecutive games with a homer, held by Dick Allen, Mike Schmidt, Bobby Abreu, Chase Utley (twice), and Rhys Hoskins.

On the season, Herrera is batting .299/.355/.491 with 12 home runs, 41 RBI, and 35 runs scored in 297 plate appearances.