Angels offiically send Hamilton back to Rangers …

Josh Hamilton‘s tumultuous stint in Southern California is over.

On Monday afternoon, the Angels and Rangers completed a trade that sent Hamilton back to Arlington and gave his most recent employers some salary relief. The deal was first reported on Friday, but the financial complexities that came with it — the Rangers sent money to the Angels and Hamilton agreed to give up some of his earnings — created a lag.

In the trade, a source said the Rangers will pay the Angels $2 million to $3 million in each of the remaining three years of Hamilton’s contract, which owed him $90.2 million through the 2017 season, including the signing bonus that was spread out over the course of the deal. Hamilton will reportedly sacrifice $6 million of his own, made up for by the fact Texas has no state income tax.

The release said the Angels received “a player to be named later or cash considerations,” but Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said that has yet to be determined.

“The best interest in the Angels’ organization,” Dipoto added, “was to move on.”

The Angels next play the Rangers on July 3-5, in Arlington.

“If I could put my finger on why Josh had a tough time here, we may have been able to help him solve those issues,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said on a conference call. “And I’m sure if he could put a finger on why it was such a struggle for him here, I’m sure he would’ve been able to contribute more than he did. But at the end of the day, this decision is about our 25-man roster, our organization, the health of this group as we move forward. We’re going to part ways with Josh Hamilton, let him rejoin the Texas Rangers, and we’re going to focus on Angels baseball as we move forward.”

Hamilton — the No. 1 overall Draft pick out of high school in 1999, before drug and alcohol addiction kept him out of baseball for three years — tapped into his potential with the Rangers, who initially acquired him from the Reds in December 2007.

From 2008-12 in Texas, Hamilton started five straight All-Star Games, played in back-to-back World Series and won the American League’s Most Valuable Player Award. He batted .305/.363/.549 in that five-year span, averaging 28 homers and 101 RBIs per season. But his production slipped considerably after a signing a five-year, $125 million contract with the Angels in December 2012.

During his introductory press conference at Globe Life Park, Hamilton said if he had to do it over again, “I probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere; I probably would’ve stayed here.”

“When it was made aware to me that the Angels wanted to move me, my first choice was the Rangers,” Hamilton said. “I’ve had a lot of good memories here.”

The 33-year-old outfielder batted .255/.316/.426 over the last two years, averaging 16 homers and 62 RBIs per season. He went 0-for-13 in the 2014 AL Division Series, generating boos from Angels fans.

Hamilton has been rehabbing from Feb. 4 surgery to his right shoulder in Houston all year, away from the team. His relationship with the Angels’ front office became contentious after he had a drug relapse late in the offseason.

An arbitrator ruled on April 3 that Hamilton did not violate the terms of his treatment program, mainly because he self-reported the relapse to Major League Baseball before a failed test; the Angels were openly upset by the decision. President John Carpino said the ruling “defies logic” and general manager Jerry Dipoto expressed the club’s “disappointment” in Hamilton’s actions with a statement.

The team did not issue Hamilton a locker at its Spring Training facility or at Angel Stadium, and promptly pulled all of his merchandise and likeness from the ballpark. Prior to the home opener on April 10, Angels owner Arte Moreno declined to say Hamilton would play for his team again and added that he hasn’t spoken to Hamilton since the end of the 2014 season.

Asked why, Moreno said, “Probably disappointment.”

Asked his reaction for those comments on Monday, Hamilton said, “I have no clue what he’s talking about.”

“Going into this season, I hadn’t been the player that they wanted me to be,” Hamilton continued. “I know I hadn’t been. But I worked my butt off to be that guy, this year, going into the season for the Angels. They just didn’t want that to happen for some reason. It doesn’t hurt my feelings, it doesn’t make me mad or anything like that. But I prepared. He knew what the deal was when he signed me. Hands down. He knew what he was getting, he knew what the risks were, he knew all those things. Under the [Joint Drug Agreement], it is what it is.”

Later in the press conference, Hamilton had asked if he’d still be with the Angels if they had been more accepting of his relapse.

“I would be,” he said. “I would’ve been in Spring Training, I would’ve rehabbed in Spring Training, and I would’ve been back [on the field] probably a month ago.”

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels expects Hamilton to be back on the field by the middle or end of May. Hamilton has been hitting and taking fly balls, but said he needs to get used to running around with spikes for an extended period of time.

He also said he has gone back to his support group from before 2012, which means, among other things, hiring Shayne Kelley back as his accountability partner. Hamilton is now getting tested five times a week, up from three.

Dipoto was asked on the conference call if this is a move that can come back to haunt the Angels.

“Why would it come back to haunt us?” Dipoto asked, then was told he was trading Hamilton to a division rival and he may have some good years ahead of him.

“Again,” Dipoto said, “we’re comfortable with the decision here.”

Alden

10 Comments

Godspeed, Josh. I wish you nothing but the best and pray you find your way back in Texas. While I do understand this is a business, I will go on the record as disappointed, but mostly in the way Arte handled this. As a lifelong Angels fan, my heart sinks because I believe we will see Arte’s public comments impact his ability to make important signings in the future. And for the love, please leave the negotiating to Jerry. No more owner-initiated contracts like this (Well, Matthews, Hamilton).

Completely agree with you! Moreno acted like a schoolyard bully.

Dipoto has done magnificently considering the circumstances, and should have been given a contract extension already. Wells was a trade though, with many factors (Napoli and Scioscia issues) involved.

Tell Arte Moreno to stay out of the baseball side of business and maybe, just maybe the Angels could put a real winning team on the field. You can’t buy a winner you have to build it.

Not overlooking Hamilton’s role in all this (but let’s not pretend the relapse was the source of the Angels problems with Josh – if he’d have put up an MVP season last year, Arte would’ve personally flown to him to hold his hand), but the Angels looked unprofessional and childish in their pouting and public berating of someone who needed help. I’m disappointed and embarrassed.

And this trade – the signing was a laughably terrible idea in the first place – this trade now has made the worst of a bad situation – which hardly seemed possible. Yet I have no doubt we’re going to double-down on the stupidity now to replace Hamilton. Probably trade what’s left of our prospects for Carlos Beltran ’cause he’s got “experience” …

Arte, please, just stop meddling – you’re becoming the Dan Snyder of baseball …

I agree with the good comments here. Mr. Moreno made mistakes in 2011 with Pujols ($254 mil) and 2012 with Hamilton ($125 mil). Both were awesome players in the prime and arrived in Anaheim with slower skills. I trust the Steve Buechele, a graduate from Servite high school in Anaheim and a coach for Texas, will greatly assist Hamilton’s return.

Rangers fan here, I’m so freaking pissed that this guy is comming back to town, , he quit on his team in the middle of a heated pennant race,, when we really needed him to stand up and be counted he constantly looked for ways to get out of the lineup, and when Washington insisted he strap it up and go to battle with his teammates have sulked like a spoiled 5 year old a rebelled by taking the day off by just not playing to win.. the guy is a cancer of the most toxic form…then the day came when the Angels came to the rescue like a knight in brilliant armour , signing him to a contract that prove to make the V Wells conract look like a bargain. . I just knew I would live happily ever after, , then this..
Hamilton, you resilient bastard, you just wont go away will you ?

Ah yes, the famous fan talk of “cancer.” No teammate has ever even alluded to him being anything close to a cancer. For a fan to insinuate such is hilarious.

I just don’t think you will find many players who will publicly call other players out, but I assure you there were those in both the Angels and Rangers club house who feel this way… you know you have problems when people are happy to see you leave each time you go. I thought scioscia had it right in the post above… its kind of dissapointing to think the guy doesn’t believe he should be held accountable for any of his actions..the Rangers and their fans were good to him, they wrapped their arms around the guy and supported him in every way possible, then he left town and bad mouth the very people who loved him,, the Angels were good to him, just dont be surprised when he blasts the Angels organization along with their fans.

You can “assure” us of this? Laughable. No players have said any such thing, even off the record. You are inventing things now so that it supports your story.

Rangers fans booed Hamilton long before he said anything about them, or left.

Now that Hamilton is gone, will the Rangers trolls leave as well?

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