Sound off: Baseball free agents, Hamilton the main guy

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With the World Series over, it’s time to take a look at who the top free agents are. Here is a look at the Collegian sports staff’s picks for best free agents and which teams need them most.

John Zetmeir, staff writer:
In the last five seasons, Josh Hamilton has proven to be one of the best hitters in baseball. He is, without a doubt, the most valuable free agent in this offseason. 

While I agree that you can never have enough pitching with a free agent like Zack Greinke on the market, you can’t win games if you can’t score runs. Hamilton is an elite slugger who will provide any team with hits and plenty of runs. 

Last season, Hamilton finished second in both categories by knocking in 43 home runs and 128 RBI. The 2010 AL MVP came extremely close to spoiling Detroit Tigers first baseman Miguel Cabrera’s triple-crown title. Cabrera finished with only one more home run and 11 more RBIs than Hamilton.

Teams that I believe should be giving Hamilton a serious look are the Baltimore Orioles and the Boston Red Sox. 

The Orioles are coming off of their best season in a long time. Adding a superstar hitter to the middle of their lineup could revamp the team for another good campaign in 2013 in what is already one of the toughest divisions in baseball.

The Boston Red Sox just need something. After the disgraceful season they had last year, they need something to spark the team. Everyone knows that Boston has the dollars to throw at Hamilton. I believe they should.

Adam Suderman, staff writer:

The depth in starting pitching through this year’s free agent class is as good as I’ve ever seen. Although the names are not among the game’s greatest, the depth of good pitching runs far down the list.

Starting pitcher Zack Greinke not only leads this list but is also the best candidate of the overall free agent list. The right-hander is coming off of a season in which he put up a 15-5 record with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Calif. His ability to quickly adjust between leagues was impressive, and both leagues will be in pursuit because of this.

Greinke began his career with the Kansas City Royals and was traded in December 2010 to the Brewers. There has been speculation of the Royals pursuing Greinke again, but with the money that he’ll likely demand, it’ll be pretty difficult for Kansas City to stay in contention with money alone. Greinke will likely command a six-year deal in excess of $140 million.

After the Angels traded Ervin Santana to the Royals, and now that they have Dan Haren facing free agency, re-signing Greinke becomes a priority. The Angels will remain the top option, but expect to see the Rangers, Yankees, Brewers and Dodgers in communication with Greinke’s representatives as well.

Joseph Wenberg, staff writer:

Among major free agents this season are the likes of Kevin Youkilis, Zack Greinke, Nick Swisher and Ichiro Suzuki. However, at the top of that list, for me, is Josh Hamilton.

In 2010, Hamilton had a breakout season, three seasons after his MLB debut. This season, he won the American League MVP award in addition to winning the MVP award for the American League Championship Series. The past three seasons, he’s batted a consistent .314 batting average with an average of 33 home runs per season. This past season, he hit 43 homers and brought in 128 RBIs.

Hamilton has been a key contributor for the Rangers the past five seasons, and I’m positive he’ll make a big difference with whatever team chooses to sign him this off-season. He is a proven winner, and if a strong team can get him for the right price, there is a definite opportunity for that team to win a pennant next October.

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