North Texas Daily

The Dose: Angels pay big for trading Hamilton back to Texas

The Dose: Angels pay big for trading Hamilton back to Texas

The Dose: Angels pay big for trading Hamilton back to Texas
April 26
20:15 2015

Edward Balusek / Visuals Editor

Update 3:00 p.m. April 27: The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have agreed to trade center fielder Josh Hamilton back to the Texas Rangers. The deal was finalized Monday afternoon. In return, the Rangers will send a player (to be named) or cash to the Southern California team.

Original Post: The Texas Rangers and Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim are close to a deal in which the former will take back center fielder Josh Hamilton.

The news comes after frustrations with Angels’ owner Arte Moreno and Hamilton surfaced earlier this season when the former American League MVP relapsed for the second time in three years – filing for divorce this time around.

Los Angeles will eat up $68 million of the remaining $80 million he is owed, according to a Dallas Morning News article, which still isn’t bigger than the helpings of crow and humble pie Hamilton will have to devour when he’s back in Texas.

This is a low-risk move for the Arlington ball club who will only have to pay him $6 million for up to three years and won’t be giving up any big players of their own.

Hamilton’s homecoming will ensue mixed emotions of disdain, disappointment and will require an ungodly amount of butt-kissing on the slugger’s part if he wants to earn the fans’ respect.

California career

After he left for the West Coast, his performance went on the best part of a roller coaster ride – straight down. In his first season he batted .250 with 21 home runs in 151 games, not terrible production, but not Hambino-worthy.

Last season, his second with the team, the decline was evident. Hamilton hit .268 and only 10 HR in half as many at-bats because of thumb surgery.

His worst showing was in the divisional round of the playoffs in September 2014. He went 0-for-13 while a barrage of boos rung out through Angels Stadium.

Hamilton was quoted in the Orange County Register saying he “didn’t play for the [fans],” but for fellow players.”

No surprise to Texas Rangers fans, who Hamilton took no time to disparage after signing with the Angels, when he said Arlington “wasn’t a baseball town” and the “fans got spoiled.”

The center fielder hasn’t set foot on the diamond this season because of an aggravated AC joint in his right shoulder, but should be cleared to play in coming months.

Second chances 

Plugging Hamilton back into the Texas line-up, though sure to be replete with hiccups, is probably the best thing for both him and the team.

The Rangers struggled last season due to an uncharacteristically injury riddled roster, but even without the strains and sprains, the team was missing holes in the outfield and batting order.

Insert Hamilton, a proven fielder and heavy hitter who has an opportunity to atone and fill the gaps for the team.

Acquiring him will be a no brainer on the part of Texas Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels. The club gets a broken soul ready to be molded into a model athlete and Christian again for peanuts, and the joy of knowing the division rival Angels made a big-league mistake.

A huge speed bump he’ll endure is how to mend the severely tattered relationship with fans. During his first at-bat against the Rangers as an Angel, fans made it abundantly clear they wanted nothing to do with him as they held newspapers in front of their faces while he struck out swinging.

Fitting in

It is no surprise that the outfield positions for the Rangers have been lacking ever since the team unloaded Nelson Cruz, Craig Gentry and David Murphy the past couple of seasons, but just by having his body in the outfield grass immediately improves the Rangers’ defense.

Will he actually produce? Why wouldn’t he. Hamilton’s no-trade clause means he controls his destiny during and after his contract with the Rangers, so he’ll want to do everything in his power to regain credibility as an All-Star athlete.

Also, he will return to a strong support group who helped him battle his addiction the first time around. And he’ll certainly need it in order over come the stress of a divorce and a long emotional battle recapturing the trust of his teammates and fans.

Of course, there’s always the possibility of his shoulder injury to linger and affect his on-field performance. That will be left in the hands of the Rangers strength and conditioning staff, but shouldn’t become an issue.

And let’s not forget that Hamilton’s tough. The man endured a strained oblique muscle for the majority of the 2011 post season, and still delivered a two-run home run that would’ve given Texas its first World Series victory if a certain now-Seattle Mariner hadn’t made the biggest gaffe of his career.

The beauty of his low-cost contract, no matter his stats after three years, the Texas Rangers can have solace in knowing they only paid $6 million for a Band-Aid that cost another team $113 million.

It’s really a win-win for the Rangers and Hamilton, both of whom need serious help.

The road to redemption will be a long one for Hamilton and Rangers fans. But no matter the amount of hatred in the hearts of many, they’ll still root, root, root for the man on his path to right his wrongs.

Brad Pitt as Oakland Athletics owner Billy Beane in “Moneyball” said it best: “How can you not be romantic about baseball?”

Featured image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

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