I was listening to an ESPN radio conversation on Josh Hamilton's next contract; the talkers were positing that the Ranger or any other club wouldn't be stingy on the per-year number ($20 million per, which is on par with what Pujols and Fielder got last winter) but would be leery about going with a decade-long deal like those two go for fear of his substance-abuse demons rearing their ugly head. At 31, something on the order of a 7-8 year deal wouldn't be out of the question normally, as hitters tend to stay productive well into their late 30s.
There are two reasons why going long might be called for here. One is that the ESPN folks might be short-changing Hamilton's faith; people who lick substance abuse with a faith-centric focus tend to do better over the long haul that less-devout folks. Yes, Hamilton has had two falls off the wagon in the past two off-seasons, but they were one-shot deals quickly dealt with; neither cost him any productivity on the field; while Hamilton is in a bad slump at present, he was on a otherworldly tear at the beginning of the season coming off that mild scare of a relapse.
Secondly, if Hamilton does have abuse issues and gets suspended, it would be without pay. Thus, there isn't much of a financial risk there, other than the prospect of being put on the shelf for a long stretch and getting rusty; a sober-but-diminished Hamilton would be pulling down superstar money for journeyman production.
Given the support circle that Hamilton has, including chaperones to make sure he stays sober on the road, that doesn't seem that likely. Folks seem to be downplaying both the faith angle and the support-network angle when getting nervous about a long-term deal.
Another guy who's in line for a nice contract come next spring is Tyrann Mathieu, a.k.a The Honey Badger. He's been kicked off the LSU football team for a second failed drug test. The rumor mill has Mattieu heading to a I-AA school so that he can play this year; a number of southern I-AA schools, including a number of historically-black ones, are in the mix, with McNeese State the early leader. As a junior, he would be eligible for the NFL draft come next May, and sitting out a year at a BCS school wouldn't help his draft stock if he is planning to leave early.
Unlike Hamilton, Mattieu seems not to be paying attention to rehab overly well. If I can twist the Honey Badger motto, he don't care, he just tokes what he wants.
He'll be up for a big contract next spring, even with his past problems. If he can keep himself sober through next April, someone will pony up a major deal, although it will be a few picks later than otherwise, since teams won't quite be sure if they'll have HB's services for the whole contract, given his proclivity for illicit substances.