How the signing of Josh Hamilton doomed the LA Angels?

By David Rice
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The LA Angels thought they had made the move that would put them over the top when they signed Josh Hamilton to a 5-year 125 million dollar deal before the 2013 season. However, the move backfired, majorly backfired.

The LA Angels have had some bad signings in the past such as third baseman Gary Gaetti in the early 90’s, and Steve Finley.  Pitchers such as Joe Blanton, Pat Rapp, Ismael Valdes, and Tim Belcher just to name a few.

However, none have ever been bigger or as much of a bust as the signing of Josh Hamilton in the winter of 2012.  Hamilton was coming off an amazing season in 2012 where he hit with 43 homers and drove in 128 runs batted in and Hamilton batted .285.  The one drawback the Angels should have taken into consideration was that Hamilton had a checkered past.

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Hamilton had bouts of alcohol and drug abuse early in his career, but he had been sober in all of his years with the Texas Rangers.  Hamilton also was 32 years old when he signed the contract with the Angels.

In his first season Hamilton struggled mightily in his first season hitting .250 with 21 homers and 79 runs batted in.  Hamilton had a paltry .308 OBP and struck out a whopping 158 times. It didn’t get any better for Hamilton in his second season in Anaheim hitting .263 with 10 homers and 44 runs batted in, and he only played in 89 games.

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In February of 2015 Hamilton admitted to having a relapse and his lack of remorse prompted the Angels to basically give him away for next to nothing back to the Texas Rangers.  The even bigger problem is that the Angels have been forced to pay Hamilton 25 million a season for three years with 2017 being the last year of this.

So the Hamilton signing was so bad that the Angels would pay him 75 million dollars to go away.  However, this has severally hampered the Angels from being able to pursue any big name free agents the past few seasons and the Angels have had a void in left field ever since Hamilton has left.  Left field has been an enigma in general for the Angels ever since Garret Anderson left after the 2008 season.

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Since then Juan Rivera, Vernon Wells and Hamilton have patrolled left and have been disappointments.  It only got worse once Hamilton left with the Angels have tried to use a platoon for the last two seasons and this concept failed miserably.

Billy Eppler got somewhat of an upgrade recently when they traded for Cameron Maybin.  Only time will tell how this will work.  After this season when Hamilton’s contract is finally off the books the Angels could maybe spend some money again in the free agent market and upgrade the team.

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Hopefully Eppler will not make the same kind of mistake that his predecessor Jerry DiPoto did in signing Hamilton.  You’re move Mr. Eppler!!!

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