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Hamilton Long-Term Deal? No Thanks.

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Hamilton Long-Term Deal? No Thanks.

AP

Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton dives to make a catch on fly ball by San Francisco Giants' Nate Schierholtz to end the second inning of Game 4 of baseball's World Series Sunday, Oct. 31, 2010, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey)

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In the off-season, the Texas Rangers had a decision to make.

Their reigning AL MVP was set to have his contract expire and they could either go to arbitration and tear down the player many compare to Mickey Mantle and call "The Natural", likely bringing up his prior hard life and what it's done to his body.

Instead, the Rangers did the smart thing and gave him a little two-year extension through the end of 2012, paying him $12 million per season. That might sound like a lot of money, but it's a fantastic bargain for someone of Hamilton's talent level.

So the question remains, is Hamilton worth signing to a long-term deal?

Sadly, the answer is a resounding "no."

After his latest injury, a broken arm suffered on Tuesday, he'll be 30 years old by the time he gets back to the field in two months, which will be his longest DL stint since he's joined the Rangers.

Last season, he missed all of September. The year before that? He only played 89 games. The year before that? He played 156 and hit 32 homers and led the league with 130 RBIs in his first season in Texas.

Unfortunately, the odds are Hamilton's best health is probably behind him. He's basically a guarantee to miss a good chunk of playing time every year.

So in two years, Hamilton will be on the open market. And if he continues playing like he has, he'll be a hot commodity. But unless things change, the smart thing to do would be to trade him at the deadline in 2012 to get something for him, because it wouldn't be a wise investment to sign someone with his history into his late 30s.

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