Is it Time to Give Up on Josh Hamilton?


Josh Hamilton went under the knife to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder on Wednesday. Josh Hamilton’s surgery was successful, probably the first time Hamilton and success have been mentioned in the same sentence during the last 24 months. The beleaguered left fielder is expected to miss 6-8 weeks of action, and he appears doubtful to return to the lineup in time for opening day.

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Putting it politely, Josh Hamilton’s tenure in Anaheim has been turbulent. 2014 was a campaign to forget for Hamilton, as he struggled to the tune of a .263 batting average, 10 home runs and just 44 RBI’s across 89 games. It was the second consecutive season he failed to live up to expectations. These are not the kind of statistics Angels’ fans envisioned when Hamilton signed a five-year deal with the club worth $125 million in December of 2012. The Halos signing of Hamilton has thus far proved to be a cautionary tale for the rest of baseball about the risks of throwing money at free agents. The potential is there for Hamilton to thrive in Anaheim, but strange behavior and nagging injuries have derailed the 33-year-old’s career in recent seasons.

The Angels tried to give Josh Hamilton his best chance to rebound in 2015 by hiring his former accountability partner Johnny Narron as batting instructor with the Salt Lake Bees. Hamilton turned his life around under the tutelage of Narron, and the Angels were hoping a reunion this spring in Tempe would get Hamilton’s mind right for the start of the season. Fans were optimistic Hamilton would finally provide the Halos with 30 home runs and 100 RBI’s in the coming season. Obviously, instead of participating in spring training he will instead be busy rehabbing his shoulder. While this injury may not close the door on him being productive in 2015, it certainly gives fans significant reason to doubt.

Jun 19, 2014; Cleveland, OH, USA; Los Angeles Angels left fielder Josh Hamilton (32) reacts after striking out in the eighth inning against the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field. Mandatory Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

There seems to be an ever-thickening fog of absurdity surrounding Josh Hamilton since he arrived in the big A. It was confirmed by US Weekly last week that Josh’s wife, Katie Hamilton, will star in the 10th season of the Real Housewives of Orange County. Mrs. Hamilton joining the cast of a reality show is eye roll worthy in it’s own right, but the fact it was announced just days before news broke of Hamilton’s injury is almost laughable for fans. Hamilton should play a key role on the show if cannot kick the injury bug in 2015, as he could potentially be spending the bulk of his days puttering around the house.

Thankfully, Jerry Dipoto and his staff have done a nice job adding a couple viable outfielders this offseason. The Halos have a number of quality options for replacing Hamilton, both in house, and on the free agent market. Matt Joyce was originally projected to function as the club’s primary designated hitter, but now he may shift to left field to begin 2015. Dan Robertson was brought in from Texas this winter, and he should compete for reps with Collin Cowgill this spring in Tempe. Both Robertson and Cowgill shined with the leather and showed promise at the plate in limited action last season. The Chicago White Sox released power hitting corner outfielder Dayan Viciedo on Wednesday, and he may garner some interest from the Angels in the wake of Hamilton’s injury.

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Josh Hamilton’s recent shoulder injury brings back familiar feelings of anxiety for Angels’ fans. There is a growing belief that a change of scenery may be best for the 33-year-old and the Halos. Hamilton is a very religious man, and that is lucky, because it will take a miracle of biblical proportions to resurrect his career in 2015. Before you lay your head down to sleep tonight, say a little prayer that the Angels find someone desperate enough to take Hamilton and his bloated contract off their hands this season.

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