ESPN.com's Jayson Stark took a look at some of the bigger names that didn't sign at the Winter Meetings and where things stand. Here's part of his take on Josh Hamilton. He says years and dollars are "still the hang-up" on Hamilton:
For all the talk that these two sides were headed for a four-year, $108 million deal this week, a variety of baseball people who spoke with the Rangers paint a very different scenario.
They portray Hamilton and his agent, Michael Moye, as still holding out for a six-year or seven-year contract, in the neighborhood of $25 million a year. And those same folks are theorizing that Moye and Hamilton are finding it very difficult to jump at a shorter deal, for a lot fewer total dollars than marquee free agents have been used to commanding in recent years, especially in an $8 billion industry.
The problem they face is this: If they wait around much longer, the Rangers are growing increasingly likely to turn the wheel and go flying down the Greinke/Upton Freeway. And if they do, who knows where that would leave Hamilton.
Despite all the Seattle rumors -- and "Seattle, to me, makes total sense," said an official of one club -- this landscape could turn wide open if the Rangers invest their big bucks in Greinke instead of their one-time MVP.
Of course, signing Greinke doesn't mean the Rangers are out on Hamilton. CEO Nolan Ryan wouldn't dismiss the idea on Wednesday that the club could afford both, though that would have to get ownership approval. If the market doesn't expand for Hamilton, it's possible he could return even if Greinke signs. But, as Stark notes, the Rangers could also continue efforts down the trade path with Justin Upton.
I'll admit that I'm a bit surprised the market hasn't loosened a little for Hamilton. But he's a unique case and with the Rangers (smartly) letting Hamilton see what's out there and avoiding setting the market, he may find out there aren't many (or any) clubs willing to take the chance of going five or six years guaranteed for his services. Still, it's Dec. 7. Perhaps that changes. And if it appears that three years could get it done, I'm sure there will be some more teams jumping in the sweepstakes.