BOSTON (CBS) – What sounded absurd even a month ago will become a reality this offseason. It stands to reason that Josh Hamilton is going to sign with the Boston Red Sox.
Consider this: The Red Sox ended the 2012 season in last place with 93 losses, and they also had a payroll of roughly $190 million.
As of right now, with estimated arbitration settlements, Boston is around $100 million short of last season’s payroll. We all know that they are not going to approach $200 million on the 2013 roster, but they have to be near $120 million mark in order to not look like the American League’s version of the Miami Marlins.
All of which leads to the obvious question: What players remaining on the free-agent market are high ticket stars who also fit into a current need for the Red Sox?
Torii Hunter has already signed with the Tigers, and the other outfield options are mediocre at best. And when it comes to other positions, you can’t sell bricks with Gerald Laird or Sean Marcum signings, and I highly doubt there has been – or will be — a run on David Ross jerseys on Yawkey Way.
But “Christmas at Fenway” with Josh Hamilton has a certain ring to it for the Red Sox brass.
The numbers for Hamilton are impressive. He has a lifetime .386 average at Fenway Park (his highest for any road park in his career) with four homers and 27 RBIs in 97 plate appearances. His on-field resume speaks for itself, with Hamilton making the last five All-Star Games and the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player award after a stellar season.
But — and this is a big but — the off-field issues are as wide ranging as any superstar athlete in any sport. Hamilton missed four seasons on Major League Baseball’s restricted list for drug-related offenses, and even this past offseason was seen drinking in a Dallas-area bar.
He is only 31-years-old but there is no telling what the drug and alcohol abuse will do to his body as he ages, and there is no telling if he will relapse again.
The money for Hamilton will prove to be unmatched this offseason. Look for him to get something in the range of four years and $100 million, at a minimum.
When healthy and sober, Hamilton is as good a hitter as there is in baseball. Not to mention he is charming and has a story tailor-made for a NESN documentary.
The addition of Josh Hamilton will generate sorely needed buzz around Fenway Park and help get the Sox get closer what their payroll was before Magic Johnson and the Dodgers gave them a mulligan last August.
“Christmas at Fenway” will have bricks and “Sox Packs” for sale, and will also have Josh Hamilton Red Sox jerseys on the shelves.
Just don’t say I didn’t warn you.
Chris Curtis has produced 98.5 The Sports Hub’s The DA Show the last three years.
Follow him on Twitter @_ChrisCurtis.