The winter is here, and we would not be doing our jobs as baseball fans if the speculation did not start right now. What is going to happen this winter? Where are key free agents going to land? Who’s going to be traded, and where will they be traded to?
Although we have already seen one trade send Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals in what I believe was a great deal for the Royals, most of the attention right now is focused on free agents.
Josh Hamilton in particular is going to generate the most conversation this winter given that he is only two years removed from an MVP award and put together another very strong season in 2012 (although he did have one dropped ball that will be somewhat hard to forget).
In 2012, he hit .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBI. With that type of production, he will be able to change any lineup in baseball.
Of course, the question has to be asked. What lineup will he most likely be changing?
As far as official rumors, there are understandably a lot of stories out there. Way back in September, Buster Olney of ESPN had heard that the San Francisco Giants could be strong favorites for Hamilton’s services. That move would make some amount of sense. San Francisco has not had very much power the past few seasons, and the left-handed Hamilton would be the perfect complement to the right-handed Buster Posey in the middle of that lineup.
Jon Paul Morosi of Fox Sports claims that Hamilton will land with the Atlanta Braves. This move also makes a great deal of sense. With the dominant emergence of the Washington Nationals and the probable rebound from the Philadelphia Phillies, the National League East will be a highly competitive division once again in 2013. Jason Heyward led the Atlanta Braves with 27 home runs in 2012, and Hamilton would add a lot more power to that lineup.
More teams will surely enter the market for Hamilton, but this is at least a starting point. A lot of action will go down this winter, but it would be surprising to see anything more dramatic than the bidding war that will probably ensue for the services of one of the best hitters in Major League Baseball right now.