Saturday, December 15, 2012
Go west not so young man; perhaps that was the calling Josh Hamilton heard when he decided to sign with the Los Angeles Angels. Or more likely it is because the Angels were the only team to offer Hamilton $25MM a year and a five year contract to boot.
It couldn't have hurt either that Hamilton's former Texas Rangers' teammate C.J. Wilson had signed a free agent deal with the Halos last season and probably reached out to him. Despite his production, teams were reluctant to give Hamilton too many years or too many millions to a player that has battled substance abuse, injuries, and prolonged slumps, several times. On the other hand he's still one of the most dangerous bats in baseball.
Hamilton hit 43 HR and drove in 128 runs in 143 games last season. His .930 OPS was second only to his 2009 AL MVP season when he finished with a league best 1.044.
Hamilton gets added to a lineup that already includes Albert Pujols, reigning AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout, and Mark Trumbo, who averaged 30 HR and 91 RBI the last two seasons. The Angels also have a glut of outfielders even with Torii Hunter gone.
The Angels have said they don't want to deal Trumbo and neither Peter Bourjos nor Vernon Wells have much value right now. DH Kendrys Morales is said to be expendable and, on a frightening note if you are a Yankees fan, Ken Rosenthal wrote earlier today that his sources indicate the Yankees could be a destination for Wells. The two teams supposedly discussed it at the recent winter meetings.
The Yankees want a right-handed bat to platoon/fill in for Brett Gardner, Curtis Granderson, and Ichiro Suzuki. (If he returns as is expected.) Between 2002 and 2006, teams would have killed to get Wells, but not any more. Except for a comeback season in 2010 when he hit 31 home runs and drove in 88, he's done next to nothing and/or been hurt. Wells has had a sub .700 OPS in his two years in LA and is owed $42MM over the next two years. I wouldn't trade a half dozen donuts for him.