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.