- David Schoenfield, SweetSpot blogger
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--Looks like Torii Hunter may have wanted to stay with the Angels:
I was told money was tight but I guess the Arte had money hidden under a Mattress. Business is business but don't lie.
— Torii Hunter (@toriihunter48) December 13, 2012
--Some teams may have been scared off by Josh Hamilton's injury history:
Josh Hamilton's medical records have been a concern for other teams. He'll be going through his physical with the Angels.
— Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 13, 2012
- So, this is where we stand -- Hamilton is gone, and he's gone to the Rangers' prime division rival for $25 million annually over the next five seasons. This is a tough one for me to wrap my head around, because even though Hamilton walking for that kind of guaranteed money is almost certainly in the Rangers' long-term best interest, this still isn't a good day for the Rangers organization. Quite the contrary, in fact. Hamilton may be a basketcase fraught with risk, and a poor bet to generate $125 million of value over the next five years, but he still figures to be a major offensive threat over the next two, maybe three years -- a threat who, in the short run, is going to make the Angels a better team, and is leaving a fairly substantial void in the Rangers' lineup for the time being.
- And let's not forget the upstart A's, who shocked the baseball world by winning the division last year and could see further improvement from several young players this year. Between that race and the battle between the defending World Series champion Giants and the shoot-the-moon Dodgers, get ready for some serious West Coast bias next season.
- If you don't think the Angels are fixated on the Dodgers, you didn't see the way they basked in it when they finally passed them in attendance in 2010. The Angels have always had to play from behind here, and when they finally nudged in front even for a span of months, it had to feel all the sweeter.
Now, there's this exciting slugfest going on, the Dodgers and Angels bringing baseball's spending war 3,000 miles west, from the Interstate 95 corridor of Boston and New York to the I-5 corridor between L.A. and Anaheim. Everybody knows what it's about: TV money, ridiculous amounts. The Angels got theirs about a year ago, for $3 billion over 20 years from Fox. The Dodgers are in the process of hammering theirs out now and, according to some reports, they could land double what the Angels got. Moneyball was so 2002, so Bay Area.
This is MONEYBALL: old-timey Hollywood, marquees, movie stars and competing spotlights scraping the night sky.
- But to me, the biggest risk here is something else. There’s no question that Hamilton was the most mysterious free agent baseball’s had in a long time. For two months last year, he was almost impossible to retire, but then things changed somewhat significantly. Hamilton’s final numbers were outstanding, even adjusted for park, but he struck out in a quarter of his plate appearances. From June on, he struck out even more often than that. After posting contact rates around 74% earlier in his career, last year he dropped to 65%. Last year Josh Hamilton made less-frequent contact than
- Last year Josh Hamilton made less-frequent contact than
- Both Hamilton and (Zack) Greinke were presumed to want to avoid the big-city spotlight -- Greinke for his past issues with anxiety; Hamilton for his struggles with addiction -- yet both ended up in the nation's second largest city. How either will fare in their new environs is unclear, but at least both will share clubhouses with rosters loaded with some of the game's biggest stars, helping deflect attention.
- MLB is starting to resemble the NBA, with all of the stars assembling in the biggest markets. I’m not sure the game’s top executives think that
- a bad thing. I’m not sure it is a bad thing from the standpoint of the sport overall. But the economic divide between the high- and low-revenue teams, long one of the game’s most vexing problems, is only getting worse.
--Hamilton moves from a great hitter's park to a good pitcher's park:
Josh Hamilton is batting .260 and slugging .440 at Angels Stadium in his career. He has a .315 BA and .592 slug pct at Rangers Ballpark.
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) December 13, 2012
--Frank Thomas weighs in:
Josh Hamilton to the Angels!! The Rangers played Chicken and got Burned Bad!!
— Frank Thomas (@TheBigHurt_35) December 13, 2012
- It got personal, and it got ugly, and for the next half-decade, as Josh Hamilton wears a
- uniform and faces the
- 19 games every season, the malice will not abate. Welcome to baseball's best new rivalry: Angels vs. Rangers, neither of whom Wednesday acted like their nicknames might suggest.
--And the final word: