Divorcing Josh Hamilton Was Exactly What the Rangers Needed to Do

Categories: Sports

It's somewhat buried about three-quarters into his story, but Chen mentioned that Hamilton isn't a baseball fan. He quoted Hamilton as saying, "I think it's boring. I never check box scores; I never watch ESPN."

It concerned me at the time, but as Chen also pointed out, Hamilton always looked like he was having so much fun playing. But I suppose you can only have fun playing a game you view as "boring" for so long, before it just becomes, well, really boring and you stop caring.

We may never know the full story of what the Rangers' front office really thought about re-signing Hamilton, but I think most of them are relieved to see him go elsewhere because they saw the same ugly, inexcusable behavior we all saw from Hamilton as the 2012 came to a close.

Sure, it hurts that he's now with a division rival, but it was time to move on.

Even with the disappointing end to his playing days in Arlington, Hamilton's acquisition ranks among the very best and impactful in Rangers' history. In fact, I think he earned a place on the franchise's version of Mount Rushmore, joining Nolan Ryan, Ivan Rodriguez and Michael Young.

Texas was fortunate to have Hamilton for what are likely to be his most productive years as a ballplayer, especially at an average of $5.4 million annually. But to have come anywhere in the same zip code of the five-year, $125 million offer he received from the Angels would have been irresponsible and set a bad precedent for the organization.

Stop trying? Oh, well. No worries. Here's a guaranteed $125 million contract that will make you the second highest paid player in baseball in terms of average annual value. And on top of that, how about a $10 million signing bonus and no clauses in the contract that protect the team should you have another drug or alcohol relapse?

So is Angels' owner Arte Moreno crazy then? That answer is coming in the years ahead, as Hamilton and Albert Pujols earn more money every year they get older. (Although agreeing to absorb nearly all of Vernon Wells' contract two years ago might be all the evidence needed that Moreno's unbalanced.)

Maybe the move to Anaheim will make the game fun again for Hamilton.
And maybe Hamilton's the guy to put Moreno's club over the top, but most likely not. I'm not a fan of using WAR (wins above replacement) as the ultimate evaluation of a player, but it's still a useful way of comparing players in terms of overall impact.

Baseball-Reference rated Hamilton at 3.4 WAR (tied for 52nd in baseball) this year and Torii Hunter, the player he's replacing in Anaheim, at 5.5. FanGraphs has it a little closer -- Hunter at 5.3 and Hamilton at 4.4. 

Simply put, that means Hunter was worth between one and two more wins to Anaheim last year than if Hamilton had been there instead.

The AL West was won this year with pitching, and until proven otherwise, that will be the recipe for success in 2013. Oakland finished eighth in the AL in runs scored and 13th in batting average, but second in ERA and batting average against. Last I checked, Hamilton doesn't pitch.

Kudos to Jon Daniels and the Rangers for letting Hamilton date other teams this offseason. "Hambone" turned out to be everything we could have asked for and more in his five years here, but five more would have felt like being trapped in a loveless marriage.

Sam Merten is a former Dallas Observer staff writer. He has covered the Texas Rangers since 2007 and tweets about the team @SamMerten.



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13 comments
don.abbott
don.abbott

I'm glad he's gone.  Sports ain't what it used to be.  Long gone are the characters, colorful misfits, and embraceable spirits that made it so....human.  Josh Hamilton has a dirt-road, cousins-on-meth aura about him that grates to high heaven.  He tries to be boyish, but his narcissism ruins the effect.  His physical talents are Marcus Dupree-ish, but like Marcus he's too complicated for his own good.  Whatever happens on and off the field to Hamilton in the future won't make it half way through the 15 minute window here.   

Capguy
Capguy

I've been on record all year that Hamilton the "dancing bear" would not return. No way he was getting a 4/5 year deal here.

The man has no recovery program. His leash is undone for the games just like a dancing bear. Then it's hooked up again till the next performance. His chances of staying straight and/ or sober are not good. As the two incidences we know about prove.

Looking for a fast start out of the gate next year for the Angels then a fast meltdown........

MushMouth1
MushMouth1

Great article Sam.

I'll always appreciate the absolutely stupendous moments Hamilton provided,not just the towering homers but the amazing fielding and throwing. He was the most gifted athlete to ever play for the Rangers.

The problem is he became too high maintenance for ownership,management and finally his teammates. I believe dragging Kinsler into the Sherlock's mess was the last straw for the players. He knew that the club would have to publicly suspend contract talks for a time but when they still didn't make overtures to him after his home run blitz he saw the writing on the wall. That is when he started checking out.

Btw not to play editor here but he was the ALCS MVP not NLCS and the phrase is "couldn't care less".

backpagepimp
backpagepimp

 My hat off to Hamilton.  He'll be making $125 million over the next fives years and licking whip cream off women's tits. 

Joshstruckoutagain
Joshstruckoutagain

Good read Sam, still effing hurts though.  I'd always figured on him wearing the pinstripes, but this is soooo much worse.  It's like your wife and children leave you, but it's with the neighbor from across the street.   Eff you Josh and Katie, eff you both very much!

ScottsMerkin
ScottsMerkin topcommenter

I enjoyed his wife's err his press conference saturday.  to me, she sounds like the money hungry bitch I always thought her to be.  its pretty easy to stick with and addict when you know you are about to get paid.  Now she has him in California, and next summer when he is caught snorting coke with the other celebs out there she will leave him, take half his salary plus alimony the rest of her life.  something tells me that he is about to fall off a large cliff and the fall wont pretty.  Have fun Arti, bc is the twitterverse is for real, DiPoto aint happy about this

P1Gunter
P1Gunter

The Hardline has been not so subtlely hinting that they'd been told midseason there was friction in the clubhouse between Josh and other players. No player or media member seems to want to talk on the record about it.

Care to be the first Sam?

We don't even need names, just an idea of what the hell was going on.

SamMerten
SamMerten

@JuddsonMelton Thank you, kind sir.

Mervis
Mervis

It will all come out soon. Just wait til the dog days of late January. Maybe the off week before the Super Bowl.

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