By trading Carl Crawford, Adrian Gonzalez and Josh Beckett, the Boston Red Sox created a lot of salary cap space for the upcoming season.

With outfielder Josh Hamilton set to become a free agent after this year, the Red Sox will definitely have interest in this five-time All Star.

It is unclear how much teams will be willing to pay for this troubled slugger, but the Red Sox will be able to make the highest offer on Hamilton if they want to.

Should the Red Sox go after Josh Hamilton?

Boston currently has Jacoby Ellsbury as their only outfielder set in stone for next season. With no outfield prospects ready to make an impact next season, the Red Sox will definitely look to free agency for their next outfielder.

Melky Cabrera, Shane Victorino and B.J. Upton are some of the more attractive options out on the market. Cabrera could make sense for Boston, but it is improbable he will get more than a three-year contract.

This season, Hamilton is hitting .293/.358/.583 with thirty-three homers in 130 games with the Texas Rangers. His career wRC+ of 136 rivals that of Vladimir Guerrero, Carlos Delgado and Will Clark among others.

Hamilton’s power/batting average this season is certainly impressive, but according to ESPN’s Hit Tracker, ten of Hamilton’s home runs have been “just enough”. That’s tied for fourth-most in the majors. One has to wonder if Hamilton would put up the same kind of numbers playing away from the hitter’s haven that is the Ballpark in Arlington.

Hamilton has had a rough life off the field which he appears to have taken control over. Hamilton has battled drug and alcohol issues throughout his career, but he seems to have figured things out. However, Hamilton has slipped up in his drug and alcohol abuse twice, the latest being in February of this year.

As with anyone battling through drug and alcohol abuse, it will be very hard for Hamilton to maintain his abstinence from the substances that have plagued his life in the past. Any team that wants to sign Hamilton will likely use his previous substance abuse as a factor to sign him for less money.

If I were running the Red Sox, I would stay away from Hamilton. If the Red Sox have learned anything over the last few years, it’s probably that having players signed to expensive long-term deals never goes as planned.

With Hamilton looking for contract security, the Red Sox should shy away. His injury history and older age scares me. However, what Boston should do is offer Hamilton a three-year, incentive-laden contract. If Hamilton doesn’t want to be one of the highest paid players in the game for three years, then Boston should look at different options.

If the Red Sox do give Hamilton the six or seven-year contract I’m sure he’s searching for, I won’t be surprised. Boston has a ton of money to spend this off-season, and there aren’t too many free agents that are on the level that Hamilton is.

Boston could sign Hamilton and still be comfortable in terms of money. However, due to Hamilton’s injury history and what previous aging outfielders getting long-term contracts have taught us, it is best for Boston to stick away from Hamilton.

This article was originally published at MLB Reports. 

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