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Could Josh Hamilton be headed for the NL Central?

The Brewers may make a play for Rangers free agent slugger Josh Hamilton.

While Hamilton might be a bit of a stretch for Milwaukee's budget, the club hopes that the troubled outfielder might find playing in a small market appealing because he'd be better able to stay out of the spotlight.

Hamilton has a tremendous power bat. But he also has a long history of drug and alcohol issues that nearly cost him his entire career. He messed around to the point that he was let go by the club that originally drafted him, Tampa Bay. He then was allowed to get away from the Cubs and Reds who held his rights but decided he wasn't worth the risk of a big contract.

Hamilton seemed to find a home with the Rangers where he played in back-to-back World Series. But he had a couple of well-publicized slip ups with his behavior that made Texas step back from plans to offer him a contract extension.

The Brewers apparently hope that the concerns about Hamilton's past will prevent the bidding from going too high. While Milwaukee is a small market, the club certainly has some money to spend. It saved nine-figure outlays for contracts when it allowed Prince Fielder to walk away as a free agent and Zack Grienke was traded to the Angels.

Hamilton hit .285 with 42 homers and 128 RBIs in 2012 for Texas.