The hot stove is sizzling. According to 94 WIP's Anthony Gargano, the Phillies offered Josh Hamilton a three-year, $80 million contract.
Will the Texas Rangers match the offer? Will Hamilton continue to insist on a five- or six-year deal that doesn't appear to be out there? Will the Red Sox or Mariners up the ante in pursuit of the best free agent available?
Hamilton clearly fills a need for the Phillies. It makes sense for the club to sign an elite hitter, one that is a difference-maker (Ruben Amaro's exact words) to a three-year contract, if he'll take it.
"I wouldn't be surprised if the Phillies are all in for Hamilton," an NL scout said. "He is a special player. I know he has had his issues [with drugs and alcohol] but if you can get him for three or even four years at $20 million-plus, it's a gamble they should take.
"You hear about his problems. Hey, guess what, if he didn't have those issues, he would be getting a 10-year, $200 million-plus deal. He would help the Phillies without a doubt."
The window is still open for this current crop of Phillies. Ryan Howard, Cole Hamels, Cliff Lee, Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins have another run or two in them, but they can use the raw power Hamilton would add.
"They need another big bat," the NL scout said. "They needed it last season. If they picked that bat up last year, they might have made the playoffs in spite of all the problems they had. A big reason to pick up Hamilton is due to the uncertainty around Utley and his knees. The other big guns are older."
But will the Rangers match any offer the Phillies make?
"I don't know," the NL scout said. "If they will, they certainly are playing a good game of poker with Hamilton. I can see the Rangers going the other way. They have a lot of firepower and a lot of prospects, who are ready.
"They could possibly trade those prospects for [Justin] Upton. The other thing is that I wouldn't underestimate Ruben Amaro. He is pretty good at getting who he wants. We'll see how badly he wants Hamilton."
Yes, yes we will.