While trading a player in the throes of a slump isn’t ideal, Hamilton would instantly become the best bat on the market in terms of his overall 2012 production (.287/.356/.587 for a .315 True Average, 11th in the league), to say nothing of his track record (.306/.365/.548 career) or his upside. Even for a two-month rental, trading him would probably net a couple of top prospects, or a prospect and a usable stopgap outfielder. The Reds, for whom Hamilton played in 2007 (and for whom Hamilton’s “accountability partner,” Johnny Narron, worked), would be a good fit: they need a centerfielder (Drew Stubbs is struggling mightily). That said, their system was hit hard by the Mat Latos deal, and they’re said to desire a right-handed bat given that their righties have hit just .245/.300/.391 this year.
The Rays, who originally drafted Hamilton in 1999, could be another fit. Their offense has wheezed in the absence of Evan Longoria, they certainly have prospects that could be put towards the acquisition of a starting pitcher elsewhere, and could offer their own pending free agent outfielder, B.J. Upton, in return — or they could work out a blockbuster involving James Shields, whom the Rangers are said to be considering as an alternative to Zack Greinke.
This article is notable in part because I believe it's the first piece from a mainstream sports website -- and from a prodigious writer in Jaffe, who, just to be clear, I like a whole lot -- to seriously delve into the subject of trading Hamilton.
Anyway, yeah, sure, they can and should consider it. You can consider trading anyone at any time for the right price. I just can't fathom a contending team being amenable to moving a sufficient combination of present AND future talent to coax Texas into pulling the trigger, though, seeing as how Hamilton is still the most talented offensive player on a team that's fixated on winning a World Series. It seems like an incredibly difficult match to put together, and like the kind of trade that, in the end, both sides would probably end up regretting for different reasons. That's not even getting into the issue of how the players/coaching staff react if the Rangers were to move Hamilton in a deal where the bulk of the returning value was tied up in prospects, thereby diminishing the major league talent pool in yet another year where they're one of the best teams in baseball, and yet again intently focused on winning it all.
I don't know. I've been incredibly dismissive of the notion of the Rangers dealing Hamilton (so much so that I've embarked upon an all-caps rant or two in the chats), but I'm receptive to new ideas and new information, and I read Jay's piece in full to see if I could be persauded otherwise. That didn't really happen. He does note in his big finish that a Hamilton trade is "probably something that has less than a 10 percent chance of happening as things currently stand"; unless there is a serious, trade-necessitating problem brewing in the clubhouse with Hamilton, though, or unless the front office/coaching staff are so completely done with Hamilton that they can justify such an incongruous trade, I don't see the likelihood as being even that high. Put me down for a <2% chance of it happening, and even that is probably too high.