A quick note while I administer a final exam...
97.3 ESPN of Atlantic City, New Jersey believes that the Phillies and Rangers are the only two left competing for Josh Hamilton's services.
This takes for granted, it would seem, that Anthony Gargano's report on 94.1 WIP is need factual. However, if the Rangers are really truly involved, I doubt the Phillies can compete. If the Rangers are not all in, Hamilton could fall into the Phillies' lap.
First, why the Phillies could not compete with an earnest Rangers offer. Texas has no state income tax, making the Lone Star State a popular destination for athletes. To bridge the gap, the Phillies gave Michael Young $1.2 million to join the Phillies. The difference in a $25 million-per-year contract is many, many millions.
The Rangers do not, however, seem to eager to go over the top with Josh Hamilton, as evidenced by their hot pursuits of Zack Greinke and attemps to trade for Diamondbacks outfielder Justin Upton. But, with money sitting around and having lost out on Greinke and failing to consumate a trade, they just may go the Hamilton route. Or perhaps they could get nobody at all.
The Rangers could choose fill Hamilton's vacancy from within. Phillies fans heard plenty about Mike Olt and Jurrickson Profar at the trade deadline as possible candidates to come to the Phillies in a Cole Hamels trade. As currently constructed, the Rangers have Adrian Beltre at third base, Elvis Andrus at shortstop, Ian Kinsler at second base, and Mitch Moreland at first base. This leaves room in the outfield and designated hitter.
Mike Olt could play some third base, some first base, and serve as the designated hitter some, as Michael Young has done the last couple of years. Jurrickson Profar could become the team's second baseman with Ian Kinsler moving to outfield or designated hitter. Leonys Martin, David Murphy, and Nelson Cruz are all outfield options.
With all of these parts, it would appear that even without Mike Napoli, Michael Young, and Josh Hamilton, the Rangers have a formidible offense and plenty of extra pieces.
If the Rangers do not want to go three years and big dollars for Josh Hamilton while they have many offensive options, I cannot blame them. Hamilton could somehow slip into the Philies hands.