Braves Offseason Rumors: Hamilton an unlikely target for Atlanta brass

Elsa

Despite a vacancy in center field created by Michael Bourn's free agency, the Braves have other issues that likely preclude them from making a serious play for Hamilton.

The Atlanta Braves are unlikely to be major players for star outfielder Josh Hamilton in the free-agent market for a variety of reasons, including lineup balance and price tag.

David O'Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Atlanta won't pursue the mercurial outfielder despite needing a center fielder since Michael Bourn has hit the free-agent market. In the same notebook, O'Brien posits that Bourn's asking price probably won't be within the Atlanta budget, as agent Scott Boras is expected to ask for a multi-year deal starting at $15 million annually. That pales compared to the price tag for Hamilton, who reportedly wants seven years at $25 million per year to sign. O'Brien reports that the Braves are rumored to have about $25 million total to spend, which would certainly leave Hamilton outside their bankroll.

Braves' general manager Frank Wren told O'Brien that his team is more likely to pursue a right-handed bat than the lefty Hamilton due to their existing preponderance of left-handed hitters like Freddie Freeman, Jason Heyward and Brian McCann.

Hamilton posted big numbers in 2012, smashing 43 homers and driving in 128 runs for the Texas Rangers. His OPS of .930 was the best he's put up since the 1.044 mark of his sensational 2010 season.


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