The Not So Rapid Reaction to Hamilton going Hollywood

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Days later I am still in shock about this deal. Josh Hamilton on the Rangers to me was never a problem. While they won the division in 2010 and 2011, I wasn’t upset about him playing there because it just seemed to fit for him.

He came to the Rangers after 1 season in Cincinnati, and this seemed to be the location where his career would finally take off. Before his career in Texas was over, he would accumulate 5 All-Star appearances, 3 Silver Slugger Awards,  the batting title, AL MVP and ALCS MVP’s in 2010, along with back-to-back World Series appearances. He also rocked the Yankee Stadium crowd during the 2008 Home Run Derby, hitting 35 home runs in one round. Although he lost, it was a signal that he would be a force to be reckoned with in the American League.

Back to my utter shock. Last season, the Angels became tired of being the Rangers whipping boys decided it was time to reclaim the throne in the American League West. They somehow lured Albert Pujols to the glitz and glamour of Southern California and even stole the Rangers ace CJ Wilson. Unfortunately, both of those signings would only allow the Angels to finish in 3rd place in the division, with the Oakland taking the title.

This offseason, they seem to be fed up with losing. Somehow, someway Hamilton became an Angel and many of us are still wondering how. During the press conference, Hamilton’s wife compared the free agency situation to dating. “We were with them for five years. If you’re going to date someone, you make it known and official pretty quick,” she said. “They let us date other teams and Josh had said he would give them first chance and they didn’t (make a move).”

So that’s what went down, the Rangers never made it official and that’s why Hamilton bolted? Come on, the Angels and Rangers are supposed to be rivals, so why would he sign there of all places. No clue, no idea, but I can tell you that the boo birds will be out next season in full effect.

More importantly, let’s look at the baseball side of this deal. Does it make the Angels the favorites to win the AL West next season? Sure. They were supposed to win last year as well, but we all saw how that played out. But what many are overlooking, is that the Angels HAVE NO PITCHING. They finished 4th in MLB in scoring last season, yet finished 3rd in their division. They lost 2 of their pitchers to trade and free agency, and now are banking on Joe Blanton, CJ Wilson, Jered Weaver and recently acquired Tommy Hansen to lead the pitching staff. Good Luck! As we have seen with the San Francisco Giants winning 2 of the last 3 World Series, pitching wins championships. End of story. The Angels don’t have it.

Althought the money may make sense, statistics wise this really doesn’t add up. The Angels cleared up cap space this offseason, shedding the contracts of Torii Hunter ($18.5 million), Dan Haren ($12.75 million), and Ervin Santana ($11.2 million) along with missing out on signing Zach Grienke. So the money is there, but $125 million over 5 years to Hamilton? Wow.  Torii Hunter was an above average run producer last year in one of the best pitchers ballparks in baseball, while Hamilton was great, but in one of the best hitters ballparks. While Hamilton did hit 43 homeruns last season, including 4 in one game against Baltimore, you don’t get the opportunity to acquire one of those players everyday. Even if that same player is one who is on the wrong side of 30, with a history of injury problems and a past drug addiction.

It’s going to be interesting to see how Hamilton adapts to this lineup. With all the issues with him during the end of the season, including the caffeine problems, eye sight issues and limited defensive range, will the Angels get full value out of their investment? Will Arte Moreno care if not? Probably not, considering the television deal they signed will be paid off simply by ticket sales, merchandise and marketing from having these two stars on the roster. Enough to justify paying a 36 year old Hamilton $25 million and a 37 year old Pujols $26 million in 2017? Who knows. We just need to see how year one goes to get an idea. Hamilton joked during his press conference how he started his career off as a ‘Devil’ Ray and now he has become an Angel. Seems more of the opposite to me, but maybe that’s the Oakland A’s fan in me.

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