HAMILTON: Pointing towards Baltimore? (AP)
There are answers that can only be found by looking into a man’s eyes. Even then, there’s an element of doubt.
Looking into R.A. Dickey’s eyes, the Mets must know he wants to play here and believes his Cy Young was no fluke. Even so, there’s always some pause.
If there’s a reluctance with Dickey, imagine that with Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton, who, when healthy and off the wagon, is one of the sport’s top five talents, if not the best.
We know the Mets won’t, and the Yankees say they want to cut payroll to be below $189 million for the 2014 season and beyond, so they aren’t player for Hamilton.
That doesn’t mean it is an empty market for him. The Rangers are playing it wisely and letting Hamilton field offers. They believe they have sufficient talent without him, but also think Hamilton might come around and believe the team that cared for him is his best option.
What the Rangers don’t believe, is that seven years and $175-million aren’t the appropriate numbers. Texas wants to go short to ascertain whether Hamilton will fall again.
When on his game, Hamilton is one of those rare players worth the money. That’s what he’s trying to convey to general managers at the annual Winter Meetings. Most players let their agents do their talking, but Hamilton is making the rounds personally, and he should be applauded.
Hamilton has his baggage, which includes a drug and drinking problem, and he’s trying to convince those who’ll write the checks he’s worth the gamble.
That’s where looking in the eyes come in.
Reportedly, Hamilton spoke with Seattle, which could be a low pressure spot for him. But, the Mariners seem to be fielding calls all the time if they want to deal Felix Hernandez. Would you call Seattle a team that will remain intact during his contract? Probably not.
The team I find most intriguing linked to Hamilton is the Baltimore Orioles. Talking to sources in Baltimore, owner Peter Angelos is willing to spend the money. After reaching the playoffs for the first time since 1997, the Orioles might have learned that the crowds start coming the year after the initial success.
Not many watched the scintillating show that was the 2012 Orioles, but after taking the Yankees to the limit in the AL Division Series, tickets to Camden Yards will be under a lot of trees this Christmas in Maryland.
Hamilton had a four-homer game last season in Camden Yards and could hit 50 in that park. Maybe more.
With news Alex Rodriguez will be out until July, and the uncertainty of Derek Jeter’s return date, the AL East can be had. Boston, Tampa Bay and Toronto have already made major moves and the Orioles can’t afford to lag behind.
I can see Hamilton in Baltimore. And, if the Rangers play it too coyly with him, it could happen, so could a lot of people.