After a 7-11 start to the season, the Texas Rangers are seeking alternative options to produce production in their lineup. On Friday April 24th, the Los Angeles Angels reportedly found a team to trade Hamilton to. That team happened to be the team he had his best years, the Texas Rangers. Yes, folks, Josh Hamilton is headed back to Texas & the deal could be finalized as soon as today.
The Angels' organization is looking to pay the majority of his remaining contract, which is $83M through '17, with an opt out in '16. Texas dealt with Hamilton from '08-12 & this is where Hamilton made his trademark. From an MVP season in 2010, to a 4-homer game against Baltimore in 2012, to finally "giving up" on Texas towards the end of the 2012 season. The disrespect from fans & the Rangers' organization led Hamilton to believe he wasn't wanted & he signed a 5-year deal with the Angels.
The question on everybody's mind is simply why? Why bring back a guy who quit on a team in a playoff run? Why bring back a guy who has a history of drug abuse throughout his career? Why bring a guy back that you know, as a GM (Jon Daniels), the fans dislike strongly due to his words towards the town's lack of support. Back from 2013: "There are true baseball fans in Texas, but it's not a true baseball town, they're supportive, but they also got a little spoiled at the same time pretty quickly."
Now to answer those questions. The man did kind of quit on the team in 2012, but who didn't? In the month of September they lost 16 games, that is what got them knocked from 1st place to Wild Card spot. The Athletics were praying they could get in & fought for every single game & they swept us the final series of the season. So yea, the Rangers' dug their own grave at the end & it didn't help with the lack of offense & pitching.
Next, Hamilton had a couple relapses throughout his baseball career, his most recent in February. Texas was the most supportive throughout the ordeal, from the fan support to giving him a person who makes sure he doesn't abuse drugs or alcohol. So, the Rangers know exactly how to handle the outfielder.
Lastly, I am not a fan of Jon Daniels & what he does as a General Manager for Texas, but this move is THE move for him. This move decides whether he gets fired or becomes a genius. We only have to pay less than $7M for Hamilton, so he's not wasting money. Although, he's giving the fans a reason to come to the stadium, to cheer or jeer him. If he were to get fired, it wouldn't be immediate. It would likely be after he opts out of his contract in 2016.
This looks good for Texas as they add a left-handed bat to their lineup. Hamilton will probably bat behind Fielder/Beltre in the 5 hole and take over Jake Smolinski's spot in LF. Another option is to split time with Moreland at DH just in case Hamilton isn't there defensively anymore. Expect a bigger crowd at the stadium & a more interesting season for Texas.
By James Trietley