Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim Rumors

Los Angeles Angels trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

Angels Designate Drew Butera For Assignment

The Angels have designated catcher Drew Butera for assignment, director of communications Eric Kay announced on Twitter. Carlos Perez will be brought up to take his spot.

Butera, 31, was installed as the team’s backup this year after the trade of Hank Conger. The journeyman has just three singles in 21 plate appearances this year. Over 754 turns at bat at the big league level, he owns a .183/.238/.266 slash. Butera has also seen time with the Twins and Dodgers.

In retrospect, at least, it seems likely that Butera was destined to keep the seat warm for Perez, a 24-year-old who came over in the Conger deal along with righty Nick Tropeano. Rated by Baseball America as the Halos’ 25th-best prospect entering the year, based largely on his quality defensive profile, Perez has come alive offensively this year. Through 79 Triple-A plate appearances, he owns a .361/.418/.556 slash with as many walks as strikeouts (seven apiece).


AL West Notes: Rangers, Beimel, Taylor, Weaver, A’s

The Rangers are off to an 8-16 start this season, and GM Jon Daniels says that while some minor changes could be made this week, the team is “not going to going to wait too much longer before we consider mixing it up further,” writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. Daniels didn’t specify what would constitute a more significant shakeup, but Grant speculates on three scenarios: demoting second baseman Rougned Odor, benching a struggling “core” player (i.e. Elvis Andrus) and/or replacing hitting instructor Dave Magadan.

Here’s more from the AL West…

  • The Mariners last night announced the demotions of righty Yoervis Medina and lefty Tyler Olson to Triple-A Tacoma, and while no official word has been released on the corresponding roster moves that will follow, Bob Dutton of the Tacoma News Tribune reports that signs point to Chris Taylor and Joe Beimel joining the club. Taylor was batting Brad Miller for the everyday shortstop role in Spring Training before a fractured wrist sidelined him for four to six weeks. He’s hitting .313/.385/.475 in Triple-A this season and could either serve as a platoon partner for the lefty-swinging Miller or eventually push him for more regular playing time. Beimel inked a Minor League pact in April after unsuccessfully holding out for a more lucrative big league deal this winter. Beimel isn’t on the 40-man roster, so a 40-man move will need to be made, though I’d imagine that could entail simply moving southpaw Edgar Olmos to the 60-day DL, as he’s already been on the 15-day DL since March 30.
  • In the latest edition of his 10 Degrees column, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan notes that Angels righty Jered Weaver‘s fastball is averaging an alarming 83-84 mph (depending on whether one uses Baseball Info Solutions’ data or Brooks Baseball). Either way, the concern over his fastball is justified, as Passan points out that 120 of the 122 pitchers that throw four-seam fastballs have an average velocity higher than Weaver’s peak velocity of 87.81 mph this year. Weaver is averaging just 3.9 K/9 and has whiffed three or fewer hitters in all but one of his starts this season, en route to a 6.29 ERA. “Reinvention is the only way to save Weaver,” Passan opines, unless he, like righties Mike Pelfrey and Chris Young before him, is experiencing such a precipitous decline due to injury. (Young, like Weaver, never threw particularly hard in the first place and may be a more apt comparison.)
  • Struggles in the Athletics‘ bullpen have the team pondering roster moves, writes Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. One option is switch-pitcher Pat Venditte, who has performed well at Triple-A since signing a Minor League deal this offseason. However, he’s not on the 40-man roster, and space is tight after claiming Alex Hassan off waivers for a staggering third time in the past several months. Slusser writes that when first baseman Nate Freiman is activated from the DL later this month, the team may try to sneak him through waivers to remove him from the 40-man but keep him in the organization. She also notes that southpaw Drew Pomeranz could be bullpen-bound when Jarrod Parker is activated from the DL and reinserted into the rotation.
  • I’ll add a note on the surprising division leaders — the 18-7 Astros. Houston is the only club in the AL West with a record above .500 and, as the Chronicle’s Evan Drellich pointed out (Twitter link), they now rank as probables to make the playoffs looking at both Fangraphs’ and Baseball Prospectus’ postseason odds. However, outside of the excellent work provided by Collin McHugh and Dallas Keuchel, the team has received a collective 5.05 ERA from Scott Feldman, Sam Deduno, Brad Peacock, Asher Wojciechowski and Roberto Hernandez in the final three spots in the rotation. Given the club’s early lead, Brett Oberholtzer‘s health and the struggles of Dan Straily at Triple-A, I’d wonder if the ‘Stros would be open to pursuing an early rotation upgrade in an attempt to make their grip on the division more sustainable. Few teams are actively selling pieces this early in the season, but the Brewers are reportedly open to trade proposals, and Houston could look to clubs that have more serviceable arms than slots in the rotation. Given the lack of quality innings at the back of the Astros’ rotation, the team needn’t add an elite arm in order to acquire a significant upgrade. While this is all speculation, history has shown GM Jeff Luhnow to be aggressive on the trade market. Names like Kyle Lohse, Matt Garza and Dillon Gee have all been floated on the rumor mill lately, and it’s not hard to envision the Rays soon having a surplus of arms once Alex Cobb and, eventually, Matt Moore are healthy. For Astros fans that really want to dream big, the argument could be made that there is in Houston both the need and the means (in terms of prospects and finances) to take on a significant portion of Cole Hamels‘ contract, though the asking price could very well exceed Houston’s comfort level.

AL Notes: Hamilton, Ventura, Graham, Texas, Hassan

The Angels signing of Josh Hamilton has set the franchise back in ways other than financial, opines Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times. During the 2012 offseason, the Angels decided to invest their payroll in Hamilton rather than make a serious bid to retain Zack Greinke. The five-year, $125MM contract forced GM Jerry DiPoto to cut corners when building his pitching staff for the 2013 sesaon and eventually he had to deal bats like Mark Trumbo and Howie Kendrick to acquire young arms (Hector Santiago, Tyler Skaggs and Andrew Heaney) over the next two offseasons. Shaikin posits the Angels’ lineup is a Mike Trout injury away from being devasted.

Elsewhere in the American League:

  • With public criticism mounting against White Sox manager Robin Ventura, first baseman Jose Abreu came to the defense of his skipper, Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune tweets. “If the people want someone to blame, it’s the players, not Robin,” Abreu said.
  • Twins Rule 5 pick J.R. Graham is here to stay, manager Paul Molitor tells reporters, including Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press (on Twitter). “He’s going to be here all year,” the manager said. Graham threw two scoreless innings to close out the Twins’ 13-3 beating of the White Sox this afternoon.
  • The Rangers will have a logjam at first base once Mitch Moreland recovers from his elbow surgery, but they won’t be able to move some of the surplus to the outfield because of the injury history of Moreland and Kyle Blanks, reports Evan Grant of The Dallas Morning News. Moreland says there was only one bone chip (a little bigger than the size of a watermelon seed) that needed to be removed from his elbow, tweets FOXSportsSouthwest.com’s Anthony Andro.
  • Indications are the continuing waiver wire saga of outfielder Alex Hassan (who has been claimed five times over the past seven months after being picked up by the A’s yesterday) will prompt the MLBPA to make this an issue during the next round of collective bargaining, according to Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal. The concern is the procedural movement hampers a prospect’s development, a sentiment echoed by Hassan. “You’re just behind,” Hassan said. “Do I prefer to be claimed by another team and have to break my lease and have to move my family and have to go find another apartment and take another short-term lease and get settled — and have to perform right away, knowing you’re the last guy on the 40-man roster? Or would it be better to stay where you are and get some stability and hopefully play well enough to where you might earn your way back up there? I don’t know the answer to that.


Quick Hits: Angels, Price, Brewers, Drew

In the wake of Josh Hamilton‘s departure from the Angels, his five-year, $125MM deal with the club may be the worst free agent signing of all time, ESPN’s Jayson Stark opines.  The Hamilton deal tops Stark’s list of the five worst signings ever, which also includes another ongoing contract in Melvin Upton Jr.‘s five-year, $72.25MM pact with the Braves.  Two other current deals receive dishonorable mentions: Shin-Soo Choo‘s seven year, $130MM contract with the Rangers is cited as a “disaster in the making,” while Alex Rodriguez‘s ten-year, $275MM contract with the Yankees is a “category unto himself.”

Here’s more from around the baseball world…

  • The Angels seem likely to make a trade for left field help, according to MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez, though such a move isn’t likely to happen for at least another month.  Acquiring a new left fielder to replace Hamilton would allow the Halos to shift Matt Joyce and C.J. Cron into a platoon at DH.
  • David Price said he hasn’t “heard anything” new about extension talks with the Tigers, the southpaw told Mlive.com’s Chris Iott (Twitter link).
  • Teams are looking at the Brewers as the first team who could start selling, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes.  One executive speculated that Milwaukee could make everyone available except Jonathan Lucroy and Jimmy Nelson.  Sherman thinks Carlos Gomez could be a big trade chip if the Brewers decide on a full rebuild and don’t think they can sign Gomez to an extension.
  • Yankees GM Brian Cashman is satisfied with Stephen Drew and isn’t looking for any internal replacements at second base, he tells ESPN New York’s Andrew Marchand.  Drew is hitting .177/.274/.419 with four homers in 74 plate appearances and has posted below-average defensive numbers as a second baseman.  Despite Drew’s numbers, Jose Pirela‘s concussion recovery and Rob Refsnyder‘s defensive issues have left the Yankees without a ready replacement for the veteran.
  • In his latest Insider-only piece, ESPN’s Jim Bowden gives his opinion on how five struggling teams can solve their problems.  One suggested fix, for the Nationals, is simply to do nothing; Bowden thinks the front office should wait until everyone is healthy before deciding if changes need to be made.

Dodgers Notes: Aardsma Opt-Out, Hamilton, Ryu

Right-hander David Aardsma has a May 1 opt-out on his Minor League pact with the Dodgers, Jacob Unruh of NewsOK.com reported yesterday. Aardsma can opt out on Friday if another club wants him on its Major League roster, and he has a complete opt-out from the Dodgers on June 15, per Unruh. The 33-year-old veteran didn’t make the club’s bullpen out of Spring Training despite strong numbers, but he’s continued to pitch effectively, yielding one run on five hits with six strikeouts and no walks in seven Triple-A innings. Aardsma hasn’t logged significant big league action since 2013, but he pitched quite well for the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate last year (1.48 ERA, 38-to-18 K/BB ratio in 37 innings) before a groin injury sidelined him for the season’s second half. The Dodgers’ bullpen has been surprisingly dominant despite incurring significant injuries, and with Kenley Jansen nearing a return, things will get even more crowded, further blocking Aardsma’s path to L.A. It wouldn’t be a shock for one of the many teams around the league in need of ‘pen help to look at the former Mariners closer as a potential upgrade.

Here’s more on the Dodgers…

  • The Dodgers were involved in trade talks regarding Josh Hamilton before he was moved to the Rangers, reports Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. However, the Dodgers were more interested in acting as a third party with the Angels and Rangers, contributing cash to the deal as a means of acquiring prospects to add to their farm system. The Dodgers also discussed a straight up deal to acquire Hamilton, according to Heyman, but even in that scenario they’d likely have just flipped Hamilton to the Rangers in the long run, as they weren’t interested in adding to their outfield glut. This marks another effort by the Dodgers’ new front office to use the team’s financial muscle to bolster the farm system in a unique way. The Dodgers already essentially bought a draft pick by agreeing to take on Ryan Webb‘s $2.75MM salary from the Orioles in order to convince Baltimore to part with a Competitive Balance draft selection.
  • Left-hander Hyun-jin Ryu is at least a month away from rejoining the Dodgers’ roster, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports tweeted yesterday. The loss of Ryu for nearly two months and of Brandon McCarthy for the entire season has thinned out the Dodger rotation considerably, though president of baseball ops Andrew Friedman recently stated that he was likely to utilize internal options until at least June as he assessed what the team had in-house.

D-Backs, Rays, Royals Among Clubs Discussing Saltalamacchia

10:50pm: Heyman adds, via Twitter, that the Orioles are not in the mix for Saltalamacchia.

10:05pm: The Diamondbacks, Rays and Royals are all discussing Saltalamacchia, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. It’s unclear if Kansas City’s interest has picked up at all between McCullough’s report and this latest update, though the Rays and certainly the D-Backs would seem to have a bigger need behind the dish. Like MacPherson yesterday, Heyman hears that the Red Sox aren’t in the mix.

4:14pm: The Royals have some interest in Saltalamacchia, but their interest is said to be very preliminary, according to Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star (on Twitter). As McCullough notes, GM Dayton Moore was the Braves’ director of player development when Atlanta drafted Saltalamacchia.

APRIL 28, 3:12pm: The Angels are not currently involved in trade talks while the Mariners are weighing internally whether to pursue him, Jon Morosi of FOX Sports reports (Twitter links). 

APRIL 27: The Marlins have already had contact with five teams regarding Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. GM Dan Jennings says that he expects to find a deal for the just-designated backstop.

Among the potential landing spots are the Red Sox, Indians, Mariners, and Diamondbacks, one source tells ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick (Twitter link). According to other reports, however, Boston is “unlikely” to be interested in adding the 29-year-old, as Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal tweets, even if it were able to add him for just the league minimum.

Saltalamacchia thrived in Boston, slashing a combined .243/.307/.455 during his four seasons there. Since earning a large free agent payday to join the Marlins last year, Saltalamacchia owns a fairly disapointing .209/.310/.351 line at the plate. That output, while still not bad for a catcher, was not enough to outweigh his lightly-regarded defensive work.

Nevertheless, Salty remains an interesting option for teams looking for a backup or injury replacement (as the above list would indicate). The switch hitter has been much more productive historically against right-handed pitching (.775 career OPS) and makes for a natural platoon mate for any right-handed swinging backstop.


More Notes On The Josh Hamilton Trade

In the press conference announcing the deal that sent Josh Hamilton from the Angels back to the Rangers, the slugger explained that he wishes he never left Texas, as Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News reports. GM Jon Daniels, who explained that it was “a pretty easy decision” to add a player of Hamilton’s ability. (Though he did not say so explicitly, the slight investment required obviously played a significant role.) For his part, Hamilton expressed disappointment with how his tenure with the Angels ended, saying that he had worked hard there even if the results were disappointing.

We already ran some early reactions to the deal before it was finalized. Here are some more notes and reactions from around the game:

  • Grant breaks down the support system and plan that the Rangers hope will allow them to keep Hamilton healthy and focused. In terms of timing, Hamilton will report immediately to extended spring training and head shortly thereafter to Triple-A for a rehab stint. The Rangers are targeting a return to big league action in mid to late May, says Daniels, with Grant pegging the club’s May 11-17 homestand as a possible debut.
  • Before the deal was consummated with the Rangers, Hamilton used his no-trade protection to block a deal that would have sent him to a National League club, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports (Twitter link). While that proposal would not have required Hamilton to give up any salary, the 33-year-old was willing to sacrifice cash to facilitate a return to Texas.
  • Some players around the game are unhappy with the way the Angels handled Hamilton’s relapse, tweets Rosenthal. In particular, perceptions are that the club violated the confidentiality provisions of the Joint Drug Agreement.
  • This deal is not really the win-win it is being made out to be, argues Rosenthal, who labels it “an ugly divorce, a forced second marriage, a series of events that never should have been set in motion.”
  • Meanwhile, MLB.com’s Lyle Spencer suggests that the Halos may have been acting with a higher purpose in making the deal, because there is a real risk that it will blow back from a baseball perspective.
  • Relieving themselves of some $20MM in salary obligations does not make a Huston Street extension any more likely for the Angels, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. That decision will come down to the club’s assessment of the reliever’s worth, it appears; it is worth noting, of course, that Street has enhanced his value with an excellent start.
  • My take: with Hamilton apparently determined to return to the Rangers, and the Angels committed not to continue their relationship, this was obviously the best that Los Angeles could do. Had the team simply cut bait with Hamilton, he would have been free to sign with the Rangers for the league minimum salary. Of course, it remains fair to debate whether the Angels could or should have given Hamilton another chance to make good on his deal, but the club did at least ensure that he landed in the best possible situation. For Texas, meanwhile, the move has plenty of upside — both on the field and in the ticket office — which more than justifies the marginal financial risk.

Rangers Acquire Josh Hamilton

7:02pm: The Angels will actually save approximately $20MM in total on the deal, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. Texas will pick up about $6MM of the tab, with the remainder of the savings coming from Hamilton sacrificing salary, per the report.

The $20MM is spread unevenly over the three years covered by the contract, per Fletcher. He adds that the deal “likely” has language providing that the Angels would recoup additional money if Hamilton loses pay due to suspension.

After starting the season about $12.5MM under the luxury cap for the current year, the Halos now have closer to $20MM in space, per MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez (via Twitter). That extra cushion could make the Halos an even more active buyer on the summer trade market than had already been expected.

3:17pm: The wording of the deal — “in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations” — is a mere formality, tweets Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. A source tells Wilson that the Rangers aren’t giving up anything of real value to acquire Hamilton.

2:34pm: The Rangers announced today that they have re-acquired outfielder Josh Hamilton from the Angels in exchange for a player to be named later or cash considerations. The Rangers will also be receiving cash from the Angels, the team added, and previous reports have indicated that Texas will be on the hook for less than $7MM of the money that is he owed. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, right-hander Nick Tepesch has been transferred to the 60-day DL.

Josh  Hamilton

The transaction represents a homecoming of sorts for Hamilton, who was named the American League MVP as a member of the Rangers in 2010 and appeared in five consecutive All-Star games with Texas from 2008-12. The Rangers will reportedly pay Hamilton just $2-3MM of what he’s owed, and Hamilton will give up about $6MM worth of guaranteed money, which will be offset by the lack of income tax in the state of Texas. The Angels are saving somewhere in the vicinity of $8MM of what he’s owed over the rest of his contract, and the deal has reportedly been restructured to give Hamilton an opt-out clause with a significant buyout following the 2016 season.

Hamilton’s return to Texas was, of course, prompted by a relapse into substance abuse this offseason that led to a perhaps too-public look into the outfielder’s personal life and created a great deal of drama and controversy. After a panel composed of two league officials and two players union representatives deadlocked on whether or not Hamilton had violated his treatment program with the relapse, an arbitrator ruled that he had not, and therefore could not be suspended by the league. The news came as a surprise to many, and reports indicated that commissioner Rob Manfred had indeed intended to suspend Hamilton before the arbitrator eliminated that as a possibility. While the factors that led to the ruling remain unknown, Hamilton likely helped his cause by coming forth voluntarily and admitting his relapse.

Today’s trade brings to a close a tenure with the Angels that was marred not only by this most recent controversy, but also by injuries and a failure to live up to the lofty expectations that came along with his hefty five-year, $125MM contract. Hamilton was not entirely unproductive for the Halos, as his .255/.316/.426 batting line translated to a 110 OPS+. However, the level of production that he provided certainly didn’t line up with his average annual salary of $25MM, or even the $34MM he received in 2013-14 on the backloaded contract. The Angels, of course, will remain on the hook for the majority of that salary.

Hamilton and the Rangers will both hope that a return to a familiar environment will help to rekindle some of the production that made him one of the most feared hitters in baseball for half a decade. From 2008-12, .305/.363/.549, averaging 28 homers per season and 36 per 162 games played. Once he’s fully recovered from shoulder surgery, which should be in mid-to-late May, Hamilton will presumably slide into left field. Texas currently has little in the way of long-term options at the position, with the possible exception of Ryan Rua, who is currently on the shelf sprained ankle and a fracture in his right foot. Opposite Hamilton will be another corner outfielder whose production has yet to live up to his eye-popping contract — Shin-Soo Choo. That Rangers’ hopes for contention in the near future will now be tied to the performance of that duo, as well as first baseman Prince Fielder, as the three under-performing but well-compensated former All-Stars have each been shadows of their former selves in recent years.

Of course, though Hamilton hasn’t been gone from the Rangers for that long, the organization still looks markedly different than it did in his final year. Manager Ron Washington abruptly resigned late last season, and he’s since been replaced by Jeff Banister, whose hiring prompted former bench coach (and managerial hopeful) Tim Bogar to join the Angels. Michael Young has retired, while Ian Kinsler has been traded to the Tigers. Nelson Cruz has signed a pair of free agent contracts with other teams since Hamilton’s departure, and Mike Napoli is in his third year with the Red Sox. The team is not without its share of familiar faces for Hamilton, however, as he’ll be reunited with the likes of Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Leonys Martin, Neftali Feliz, Derek Holland and Colby Lewis, among others.

Billy Casey of Shutdown Inning and Brandon Land of One Strike Away first reported trade talks between the two sides more than a week ago. SI.com’s Michael McCann reported that the Angels could part with him in a matter of days, and FOX’s Ken Rosenthal reported that a trade was looming (Twitter links). MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan first tweeted that a trade to the Rangers was close, and CBS’ Jon Heyman added that an agreement was in place. Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram each added details on the financial components of the trade, with Grant adding mention of the opt-out clause. Mike DiGiovanna of the L.A. Times tweeted that everything was done, pending league approval, and MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez was the first to tweet that the deal would be likely announced on Monday. Heyman tweeted shortly before the announcement that the deal had been finalized.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.


Hamilton Trade Expected To Be Finalized Soon

SUNDAY 10:24pm: The deal is likely to be completed Monday, Gonzalez tweets.

7:19pm: The Angels indicate that they do not expect to have any announcements today, MLB.com’s Alden Gonzalez tweets. That suggests that the trade won’t become official until Monday or later.

1:25pm: The trade is expected to be finalized today, tweets Sullivan. Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan adds (via Twitter) the trade is now in the “I-dotting, T-crossing stage.”

SATURDAY: The Rangers are still awaiting approval on the rumored Josh Hamilton deal, writes T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Sullivan’s source with the Rangers see no impediment to finalizing the agreement. As Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register tweets, the swap is slow moving because it involves five parties – the Angels, Rangers, Hamilton, the commissioner’s office, and the players’ union.

The Rangers are expected to cover about $7MM of the roughly $82MM remaining on his contract. Since Texas has no income tax, Hamilton is reportedly willing to renegotiate the size of his contract. Per Sullivan, the club is eager to complete the trade. Hamilton is in the midst of rehab for a shoulder injury. The Rangers would like to get him out to their Arizona facility at the earliest opportunity.

Some might recall that Hamilton was “booed out of Texas,” writes Yahoo’s Tim Brown. However, he’ll be quickly forgiven if he helps the anemic Rangers offense produce some runs. Per Brown, his former teammates are looking forward to reuniting with Hamilton. Many hope that he can fall back into his old support system. That could help him focus on health and production.

The Rangers are the beneficiaries of the “arrogance” of Angels owner Arte Moreno, opines Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register. Moreno was the one who wanted to acquire Hamilton in the first place. GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia would have happily added Hamilton’s bat to the lineup, so the decision to discard him must have come from Moreno. It’s fair to wonder if Moreno should take a lighter hand in the Angels’ baseball operations.

Surprisingly, the move makes sense for all five parties involved, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News. The Rangers take a minimal risk on a guy who was a core component of several successful seasons. The $6MM Hamilton will forgo doesn’t devalue his deal due to the different income tax laws. The MLBPA is looking out for Hamilton’s welfare even though they’re usually against restructuring contracts. Meanwhile, the Angels and the commissioner’s office avoid a potentially embarrassing situation.

 


Reactions To The Josh Hamilton Trade Reports

As we noted yesterday, the Angels and Rangers are close to a deal that would send troubled outfielder Josh Hamilton back to Texas, with the Angels receiving $15MM or less in salary relief in return. The deal isn’t yet complete (and it’s easy to see why, given the complexity of dealing with the approximately $80MM on Hamilton’s contract), but here are a few early reactions.

  • Given the reported terms of the deal, the Hamilton trade is a low-risk gambit by the Rangers, Dayn Perry of CBS Sports writes. Hamilton’s left-handed power should play better in the Rangers’ ballpark than it did in the Angels’, and also, Hamilton could prove to be more comfortable in Texas, where he produced many of his best seasons. Meanwhile, the $15MM or less the Rangers are reportedly taking on isn’t an exorbitant commitment.
  • Arguing in a somewhat similar vein, Kevin Sherrington of the Dallas Morning News argues that the Rangers have little to lose from the trade.  Hamilton won’t block any outfielders who are performing well, and the Rangers can provide a supportive environment that can help Hamilton as he battles his addiction issues.
  • Hamilton’s Angels teammates hope he has good luck in Texas, Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times reports. “No matter what the situation is, Josh is going to pick up a 35-inch bat and go swing,” says C.J. Wilson. “That’s what he’s good at, and I think that’s what he needs to be doing right now.”
  • Along with Gary Matthews Jr. and Vernon Wells, Hamilton will be the third high-priced outfielder in recent years who the Angels have traded with two or more years left on his deal, Bill Shaikin of the Times notes. The Angels just $2MM when they sent Matthews to the Mets, and $14MM when they shipped Wells to the Yankees.