Josh Hamilton Rumors

L.A. Notes: Greinke, Mattingly, Hamilton, Pujols

Dodgers starting pitcher Zack Greinke is a “baseball junkie,” writes FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal, who notes that Greinke participated in scouting trips with the Brewers’ front office while he pitched for Milwaukee. Greinke wanted the Brewers to pick infielder Corey Seager, but Greinke’s current team, the Dodgers, took Seager before the Brewers had a chance to select him. Here are more notes from the Dodgers and Angels:

  • Greinke doesn’t mind making less money than Felix Hernandez, Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times reports. The Mariners right-hander recently signed a seven-year, $175MM extension, topping Greinke’s six-year, $147MM deal with the Dodgers. Hernandez is “a better pitcher than I am,” Greinke says.
  • ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden predicts that the Dodgers will extend manager Don Mattingly’s contract during Spring Training. Bowden suggests that Davey Johnson’s impending retirement, which will create what would appear to be a desirable managerial opening with the Nationals, could help convince the Dodgers to extend Mattingly, preventing him from leaving.
  • New Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton describes hitting in the Los Angeles lineup, alongside Albert Pujols and Mike Trout, as “appealing,” the San Francisco Chronicle’s John Shea reports (on Twitter).
  • Pujols, meanwhile, says that “We look good on paper, but we still have to go out there and perform,” MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez writes (on Twitter).

Quick Hits: Mickelson, Jackson, Hamilton, Tigers

As the newly-signed Hiroyuki Nakajima becomes a comic hit during his introductory press conference with the A's, here's the latest from around baseball…

  • Phil Mickelson will not be part of the Padres' ownership group, reports Tod Leonard of the San Diego Union-Tribune.  The golf star said he isn't "able to make that kind of long-term commitment to the city and to the team."
  • It doesn't seem logical for the Rangers to give Edwin Jackson (what would have to be) a four-year, $50MM contract, opines MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan.  We heard earlier tonight that the Rangers and Cubs were the final two contenders for Jackson's services.
  • Major League Baseball has ruled that the $2MM the Angels will donate to Josh Hamilton's charitable foundation will count towards the team's luxury tax payments and be counted as "noncash compensation," reports The Associated Press.  FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal noted the charitable portion of Hamilton's contract earlier today.
  • It can be difficult for players to mentally adjust to the "baseball limbo" that is the offseason rumor mill, ESPN's Jerry Crasnick writes.
  • Money has been no object for Tigers owner Mike Ilitch as he pursues a World Series title, but ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if the Tigers' next owner will be able to keep the club's payroll in the $150MM range given the limitations of Detroit's market.  (An ESPN Insider subscription is required to read Olney's column.)
  • Nick Swisher will not be visiting the Giants during his tour of potential destinations, tweets Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle.  With the Giants not having enough payroll space left to pursue Swisher, I think we can finally put this rumor to bed.
  • The Twins and Carl Pavano don't appear to be a fit, MLB.com's Rhett Bollinger writes.  The two sides met during the Winter Meetings and though Pavano has pitched well in Minnesota, he turns 37 in January and missed most of last season with an injured shoulder.  I agree with Bollinger that the Twins would probably want a more reliable option than Pavano given that several other projected members of the Twins rotation are also coming back from injuries.
  • Baseball people suggest Trevor Bauer has a better chance of becoming an impact player than Didi Gregorius, Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic writes. The Diamondbacks sent Bauer to the Indians last week in the three-team deal that brought Gregorius to Arizona.  As Piecoro explains in detail, however, there were some questions about Bauer's personality and his ability to be a team player.

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post


Los Angeles Notes: Hamilton, Trumbo, Dodgers

The latest on the MLB’s two Los Angeles area teams…

  • There's a clause in Josh Hamilton's new contract that calls for the Angels to donate $400K per season to the outfielder's charity, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (on Twitter). That will amount to a $2MM total over the course of Hamilton's five-year deal.
  • The Angels and Marlins have talked about the Angels’ spare bats, ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark reports (on Twitter). The Marlins appear to prefer Mark Trumbo, though he’s the least likely to be traded. The Angels could also deal Peter Bourjos, Kendrys Morales or Vernon Wells.
  • The Dodgers now aim to find a reliever, preferably a lefty, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).
  • The Dodgers could pursue free agent center fielder Michael Bourn if they trade Andre EthierRosenthal writes.


Angels Sign Josh Hamilton

For the second time in as many offseasons, the Angels have signed the top free agent position player to a surprising long-term contract. The Angels have officially signed Josh Hamilton a five-year contract worth $125MM, the team announced. The deal is slightly backloaded and includes a no-trade clause. The outfielder is represented by Moye Sports Associates.

MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez and Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times have the contract breakdown (Twitter links). Hamilton gets $10MM up front and will earn $15MM in 2013 and 2014, $23MM in 2015, and $30MM in 2016 and 2017. The remaining $2MM goes to his charity. DiGiovanna and Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times report that the contract does not include any special language regarding Hamilton's off-the-field problems, though the team has hired Shayne Kelly, his accountability partner, away from the Rangers (Twitter links).

Josh Hamilton - Rangers (PW)

To the surprise of many, the Angels signed Albert Pujols to a ten-year deal at last year's Winter Meetings. One year later, owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto have struck again, luring Hamilton away from their division rival and adding him to a lineup that already includes Pujols and Mike Trout.

The Dodgers have generated considerable attention for their free-spending ways this offseason, but Moreno will not be overshadowed. Both Zack Greinke, MLBTR's top ranked free agent, and Hamilton, our top ranked position player, ended up signing with Los Angeles' teams.

Hamilton received and turned down a qualifying offer from the Rangers, which means he'll be linked to draft pick compensation. The Rangers will obtain a compensatory selection for losing Hamilton, and the Angels will have to surrender their top pick (#22 overall) in 2013.

Texas GM Jon Daniels is not pleased with the way the negotiations ended, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (on Twitter). The GM did not get a call to match Los Angeles' offer, as expected. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Rangers had been willing to offer four years to retain Hamilton (Twitter link).

The Angels have shown interest in R.A. Dickey, Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports (on Twitter). Perhaps Dipoto will pursue a trade for the defending NL Cy Young winner using Peter Bourjos as trade bait. Bourjos, Kendrys Morales and Mark Trumbo could be trade candidates, since Trout and Hamilton will presumably occupy two outfield spots for Los Angeles. However, the Angels have said they are keeping Trumbo, ESPN.com's Buster Olney reports (on Twitter).

The deal will push the Angels' payroll to the $165MM range, as Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com points out (on Twitter). It would represent a franchise record, but would not push the team past baseball's luxury tax.

Joe McDonnell of FoxSportsWest.com first reported that the Angels were involved in serious talks with Hamilton (Twitter link) and Yahoo's Tim Brown first reported that the sides were nearing a deal (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports first reported the agreement and later added details (Twitter links), as did ESPN Dallas and MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez (on Twitter). Photo courtesy of US Presswire. Mike Axia cotributed to this post.


Angels Notes: Hamilton, Trumbo, Bourjos

A look at the Angels as they introduce Josh Hamilton..

  • The Angels are telling people that they're not trading Mark Trumbo, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports (via Twitter).  That could change with the right offer, but it's clear that they would prefer to move Peter Bourjos.
  • The Rangers didn't woo Hamilton hard enough, according to his wife Katie, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram.  The slugger agreed and said that he would be lying if he said the perceived slight didn't bother him.
  • The Angels' signing of Hamilton was a shocker but was also premeditated in many ways, writes Alden Gonzalez of MLB.com.  A source says that the Halos already looked into it during the Winter Meetings despite owner Arte Moreno's preference to have a $145MM payroll next year.  However, the club left flexibility for just one player, and that was Hamilton.
  • Hamilton said that talks didn't get serious with the Angels until the day he signed, tweets Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.

Heyman On Hamilton, Sanchez, Tigers

The latest from Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com (Twitter links)…


Olney On Hamilton, Tigers, Angels, Bauer

Michael Bourn, Nick Swisher and the 2013 Angels will all benefit from Josh Hamilton's recent agreement with Los Angeles, ESPN.com's Buster Olney writes. However, Mike Scioscia, Torii Hunter and the Mariners probably won’t benefit from the deal, according to Olney. Here are some more reactions to the deal, and a look at the impact it will have. Now for some more of Olney’s notes from around MLB…

  • The Hamilton deal was made over the head of the Angels' baseball operations department, Olney reports (on Twitter).
  • Rival general managers had correctly predicted Anibal Sanchez would sign with the Tigers, Olney writes. The Tigers have made it known for weeks that they'd be willing to listen to offers for Rick Porcello, according to Olney. It now seems as though Porcello has become a trade candidate.
  • Peter Bourjos drew lots of trade interest in the first few weeks of the offseason, Olney reports. While Bourjos could be moved, the Angels have told teams they're keeping Mark Trumbo.
  • The Diamondbacks had talked to other teams about deals involving Trevor Bauer before this year's trade deadline, Olney reports.

Los Angeles Notes: Hamilton, Managers, Niese

The Dodgers have dominated the headlines in Hollywood for most of the winter but the Angels stole the spotlight today by reaching agreement with Josh Hamilton on a five-year, $125MM contract.  Here are a few items about both Los Angeles franchises…

  • Hamilton's agents approached the Dodgers and the team did background work on the outfielder, but the Dodgers never seriously considered signing him, reports FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal.  The Dodgers simply didn't have room in the outfield with Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier and Carl Crawford all locked up to major long-term contracts.
  • Don Mattingly and Mike Scioscia will both be under tremendous pressure to manage their respective teams to postseason success in 2013, writes Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times.  Scioscia is under contract through 2018 but the Angels haven't made the postseason in three years and the skipper seemed to be on the hot seat last year during the team's slow start.  As for Mattingly, he is entering the final year of his three-year contract.  Hernandez also addresses a number of other questions about both teams as part of his Q&A piece, including if the Angels signed Hamilton as a response to the Dodgers' high-profile moves.
  • The Angels are interested in Jonathon Niese and share an interest in R.A. Dickey with the Rangers, reports Matthew Cerrone of Metsblog.com.  Cerrone believes the Blue Jays also have their eye on both Mets pitchers, with Niese as their first choice.
  • There are still some outstanding questions about the Dodgers' financial situation and the status of their rumored multi-billion dollar TV deal with FOX, writes ESPN's Darren Rovell.
  • Earlier today we explored the reaction to the Hamilton signing and its impact around the league.

Reactions To The Josh Hamilton Signing

We've already looked at how the Angels' five-year, $125MM agreement with Josh Hamilton has impacted players and teams around baseball, but now let's look at some analysis of the signing itself, including items about how the deal came together for the Angels and how the Rangers missed out on re-signing their slugger…

  • An American League executive called the move "last-second knee-jerk stupidity" on the part of the Angels, Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports (Twitter links). However, an NL executive called it a "brilliant move" since the Angels obtained the best player available and added balance to a largely right-handed lineup.
  • Former Angels outfielder Torii Hunter had some sharp words regarding his free agent talks with the Angels and owner Arte Moreno (Twitter links). “I was told money was tight but I guess the Arte had money hidden under a Mattress,” Hunter wrote. “Business is business but don't lie.” Hunter clarified in a follow-up tweet that he’s “not upset.”
  • One American League executive told ESPN.com's Jayson Stark that the Rangers made the "fatal mistake" of believing no team would go beyond four years for Hamilton.  Also from Stark, Moreno's tactic of making take it-or-leave it offers prevented Hamilton from going back to the Rangers to give them a chance to top Anaheim's offer (Twitter links)
  • Though Rangers GM Jon Daniels will face public criticism for letting Hamilton get away to a division rival, Daniels is being "privately lauded" by other general managers for parting ways with Hamilton, tweets ESPN's Buster Olney
  • Also from Olney (Twitter link), "Hamilton's medical records have been a concern for other teams."
  • Yahoo Sports' Kevin Kaduk runs down the winners and losers of the Hamilton signing.
  • The signing looks like "an impulse buy" for Moreno and the Halos, as the team reportedly didn't even discuss signing Hamilton during the Winter Meetings, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports.  Rosenthal's colleague Jon Paul Morosi reports that the Angels did meet with Hamilton during the Winter Meetings, though it was kept quiet enough that some within the organization didn't even know the meeting took place (Twitter links).
  • The Angels know they'll have to trade from their position player depth, but aren't close to any deals yet, Yahoo's Tim Brown reports (on Twitter).
  • The Rangers are "really shaken" by losing Hamilton, especially after being unable to sign Zack Greinke or work out trades for Justin Upton or James Shields, writes CBS Sports' Danny Knobler (via Twitter).  "Fair to say they don't love any [other] options out there," Knobler adds.
  • The Hamilton signing elevates the Angels/Rangers rivalry to an even higher level, writes Yahoo's Jeff Passan.
  • My take: I'm not crazy about the signing since the Angels' lineup (and particularly their outfield) wasn't an area of concern, and $125MM is a lot of money to commit to a player with as many red flags as Hamilton.  That said, I can understand why they made the move.  Money seems to be no object to the Angels, so if they can win a World Series over the next few seasons, the team won't care if Hamilton (or Albert Pujols, for that matter) is a payroll albatross by 2016-17.  It also doesn't hurt that the Angels dealt a serious blow to a division rival by keeping Hamilton away from the Rangers.  I'd suggest that the Angels hang onto their outfield depth until at least the trade deadline — given Hamilton and Kendrys Morales' injury histories, it makes sense to have a capable outfielder like Peter Bourjos, who brings much more off the bench than Vernon Wells.  

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith contributed to this post


Fallout And Impact Of The Josh Hamilton Signing

Here's the latest on how Josh Hamilton's agreement with the Angels will affect several other players and teams all around the league, including how close some other teams came to signing the free agent slugger themselves…

  • The Rangers have told Geovany Soto he'll be their everyday catcher in 2013, but ESPN's Buster Olney wonders if the Rangers could now pursue free agent backstop A.J. Pierzynski.  Also from Olney, rival evaluators are speculating that the Rangers might now be the best fit for Nick Swisher (both links are to Olney's Twitter account).
  • The Mariners "badly wanted" Hamilton, which means the Angels disappointed two of their AL West rivals today, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports (on Twitter).  MLB.com's Greg Johns hears that the M's were heavily courting Hamilton and "had strong hopes" he would sign with them.
  • The Red Sox had interest in Hamilton but weren't willing to offer a contract longer than three years, reports WEEI.com's Rob Bradford.
  • The Phillies were similarly not interested in Hamilton at such a high price, writes Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.  Hamilton's signing could increase interest in other free agent outfielders like Swisher and Cody Ross, thus possibly pricing the Phillies out of the market and forcing them to turn their attention to acquiring pitching instead.
  • The Marlins could reverse their stance on trading Giancarlo Stanton, opines MLB.com's Joe Frisaro, if the Rangers are desperate to add another big bat and were willing to offer Jurickson Profar or Mike Olt in a deal.  Frisaro also thinks Miami could be a trade match with the Angels as Peter Bourjos "has been on the Marlins' radar for a while."
  • Fangraphs' Dave Cameron breaks down the value of Mark Trumbo, Kendrys Morales and Bourjos both to the Angels and on the trade market.
  • Bourjos, for his part, tells MLB.com's Alden Gonzalez that he wants to remain in Anaheim and enjoys being an Angel, though he also wants to be an everyday player.
  • ESPN's Keith Law doesn't see Hamilton providing much value in the last two years of his contract, though his signing "makes more sense" if the Angels trade some roster depth to fill the holes in their rotation.  Law also notes that Michael Bourn appears to be running out of suitors, and speculates that Bourn could look for a one-year deal now and then look for a big multiyear contract next winter.
  • Early today, we looked at rumors concerning the possibility of the Angels and Mets working out a trade involving R.A. Dickey.

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith also contributed to this post