The Milwaukee Brewers say they are interested in Josh Hamilton, and the feeling appears to be mutual.
Brewers assistant GM Gord Ash was a guest Wednesday on the Jeff Blair Show on Sportsnet 590 The Fan where he confirmed Milwaukee’s interest in the free agent slugger.
Ash said the Brewers met with Hamilton’s agent last month at the GM meetings and the presence of Johnny Narron on the Brewers coaching staff “appealed” to Hamilton.
Narron spent five years serving as Hamilton’s “accountability coach” with the Cincinnati Reds and later, the Texas Rangers before joining the Brewers prior to the 2012 season.
According to USA Today, the Rangers consulted with Hamilton last winter before allowing the Brewers permission to interview Narron.
“Johnny is very talented and has helped me tremendously, both personally and professionally,” Hamilton said in a statement last November. “He is fulfilling a dream to be a Major League batting coach, and I have told him previously I would never stand in his way from doing that. We will stay in touch, and I wish him great success with the Brewers.”
Hamilton’s battle with drug and alcohol addition is well known, but Ash said that won’t be a determining factor as to whether or not the Brewers sign him.
“No concern in that area,” Ash explained. “He seems committed to what he wants to do. This is strictly a dollar and cents issue for us.”
The 31-year-old Hamilton is likely to sign for an average annual salary well in excess of $20 million, but what is less certain is how many years his new team will be willing to commit to him, with some reports suggesting the best he can hope for is a four-year deal.
Earlier this week, Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports reported talks on a new contract between Hamilton and the Rangers were “progressing,” but on Wednesday morning Jon Heyman of CBS said those talks “were on hold” while the Rangers focus their efforts on signing Zack Greinke.
Heyman added the Seattle Mariners, Boston Red Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies have also shown interest in Hamilton.