There is no bigger free agent following this 2012 season than the Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton. Not only is he arguably the most talented player of our generation, but he also has the unique back story of being a recovering drug addict with a history of being banged up due to his reckless style of play.
Heading into the season, Hamilton told the Rangers he would not negotiate during the season and added that he owed the Rangers nothing, despite the fact they took a chance on him when they traded their top pitching prospect, Edinson Volquez, for him back in 2007.
Then, of course, there was another public relapse at a Dallas club just before the start of spring training and the two parties mutually agreed to table any contract discussions.
Now, the feelings have changed a bit as Hamilton has said he's not totally opposed to negotiating during the season but that it's up to his agent. He's also said the Rangers will have the first shot of signing him after the season is over.
“They’ve got the first shot, man,” Hamilton told reporters. “They had a shot earlier this year and didn’t really take it and we mutually decided to shut down talks and focus on the season, and we’ll restart talks at the end of the season.”
It's going to be one of the more interesting free agency cases in the history of the game given all the background information, Hamilton's age and his immense skill set. Ultimately, it's going to come down to whether Hamilton seeks the most money available (which the Rangers won't match) or the comfort of being in a place that adores him playing on one of the best teams in baseball.