Angels Getting Close to Signing Josh Hamilton

Dave · December 13, 2012 at 11:13 am · Filed Under Mariners 

The Angels should just rename themselves the Anaheim Mystery Team. It seems like every winter, they sign a guy who they weren’t rumored to have any interest in prior to the deal being basically done. This winter, it looks like they might be playing that role with Josh Hamilton. Multiple reports suggest that the two are in deep negotiations and that a deal is pretty close to being done. Pretty close isn’t done, of course, but when rumblings get this loud from this many different sources, it usually ends up happening.

The dominoes here should be interesting. The Angels OF is already full, so Hamilton would displace either Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo, meaning that they could then put either on the trade block. The Mets are in desperate need of outfielders, and have been linked to Bourjos in previous rumors in the past. A Bourjos-for-R.A. Dickey trade could make sense for both teams, and adding both Hamilton and Dickey would vault the Angels right back into contender status in the AL, and probably move them ahead of Texas in the AL West pecking order.

And, of course, that would take two potential upgrades off the table for the Mariners. I fully expect that if the Angels sign Hamilton, there’s going to be a city wide freakout from despondent Mariner fans who are convinced that the team will never spend and never win. Do not be one of those fans.

Hamilton has played on an AL West rival for basically his entire career. Having him move from Texas to Anaheim makes the Mariners competition different, but not harder. Adding Dickey would improve the Angels, certainly, but it’s not like they’d get him for free, and would further deplete a team that is already low on young talent for the future. It would make the Angels better in the short term, and probably a bit worse in the long term. Anyone who tells you that they can just keep spending money with no end in sight clearly hasn’t been paying attention, as they jettisoned both Dan Haren and Ervin Santana and replaced them with Joe Blanton in order to keep their payroll under control.

If the Angels want to commit their future to the mid-30s years of Albert Pujols and Josh Hamilton, more power to them. They’ll contend for a while, then the whole thing will fall apart. It’s not necessarily a bad idea to take the Phillies path, given what they have in place, but keep in mind what the Phillies look like right now. Loading up on older, expensive players eventually catches up with you.

Or, heck, look at last year, when the Angels were the off-season’s big winners and then still missed the playoffs. People love to overreact to off-season acquisitions, and forget that there’s more to roster building than splashy free agent moves. I’d have happily taken Josh Hamilton at a good price. I’d still like Nick Swisher, and I’d try to beat them to R.A. Dickey if the Mets are interested in Paxton and Franklin. I’m not suggesting the Mariners should just sit back and do nothing. I am suggesting, however, that those who continue to yell from the rooftops that off-season spending determines future on field outcomes don’t know what they’re talking about.

Don’t be one of the mouth-breathers that overreacts to every free agent acquisition by the Angels or Rangers. Let them yell and scream about how the world is ending. They weren’t right about this last year, and they’re not right about it now.


126 Responses to “Angels Getting Close to Signing Josh Hamilton”

  1. kinickers77 on December 13th, 2012 3:15 pm

    I think it’s about PR. If the Mariners overspent to land Hamilton, two things could have happened:

    1 – He could’ve continued to be a great hitter and everyone would’ve been happy.

    2 – He could’ve rapidly declined. In this scenario, some would say the Mariners were stupid to give so much but others who were tired of a stale front office would say, “Well, at least they tried.”

    But, if we make no moves whatsoever, I only see a negative PR outburst in response: Fans are tired of the Mariners sucking and not having the balls to do anything about it. While smart fans who follow blogs like these may understand that the overspending wouldn’t have been worth it, the majority if PR is not shaped by those people. It’s mostly shaped by the casual fans who don’t pay that close attention and just want to see superstars and Ws.

    From a PR perspective, I think the Ms are close to a big off-season letdown. From a budget perspective, maybe not. But then again, maybe so because good PR sells more tickets.

  2. terryoftacoma on December 13th, 2012 3:19 pm

    The Angels sign Hamilton a 4.4 WAR RF to replace Hunter a 5.3 War RF and M fans are becoming defeatist because it. Will wonders never cease. The off season’s not over yet and I’ll reserve my opinion of how successful or unsuccessful it was when it is.

  3. PinedaExpress on December 13th, 2012 3:20 pm

    “Other than Adam Jones I am at a loss to come up with a better than league average position player that the Mariners have developed since, MAYBE Ackly, Smoak or Montero will hit but that looks doubtful now.”


    I’d consider them both above league average.

  4. ireportyoudecide on December 13th, 2012 3:20 pm

    Swisher and Bourn aren’t coming. 3rd place and out of the playoffs is the best we can hope for. Attendacne will be the lowest ever for Safeco Field. There is no hope. Even if they win in April and May the excitement level is so low it won’t matter. Opening week against the Astros at home they might not hit 10,000.

  5. the tourist on December 13th, 2012 3:23 pm

    “The starting unit of the “mythical” 1995 Mariners:”

    Oh me oh my, I suppose I did mention 1995 somewhere. Oh wait, I didn’t? Oh boy, that must be embarrassing.

    But yeah, the core were the guys you mentioned. Plus Risley. And Wolcott. And A-Rod. And Ameral. And a trade of the late 80s version of the current team’s Felix (Langston) brought in Randy Johnson. But I’m sure that the Mariners will refrain from trading Felix. Wilson was brought in by trade (like John Jaso!). Cora was a minor free agent signing. Buhner was acquired through the Mariners taking advantage of the Yankees and how many years did it take for him to blossom? 4? Hope for Montero yet!

  6. the tourist on December 13th, 2012 3:24 pm

    “2 – He could’ve rapidly declined. In this scenario, some would say the Mariners were stupid to give so much but others who were tired of a stale front office would say, “Well, at least they tried.””

    Yeah, that worked well with Figgins, didn’t it? And Silva.

  7. eponymous coward on December 13th, 2012 3:27 pm

    Yes. I remember going to loads of games back then and happily watching the young players put it together and become the mythicized “90s Mariners”. You know how they got there? It wasn’t by signing big free agents.


    Nobody is arguing that a productive farm system isn’t necessary.

    But if you’re saying our way to relevancy is drafting and trading for some first-ballot HOFers (RJ, Griffey and A-Rod), plus drafting a marginal HOFer (Edgar), plus scoring some pretty good players in trades that turned out to be very lopsided (Moyer and Buhner, and add the Big Unit trade into that), you might be waiting for a while.

    Go look at how many teams have 3 first-ballot HOFers on them at the same time in MLB history. It’s not a huge list.

  8. IdahoFan on December 13th, 2012 3:27 pm


    These results came after changes the owner made in 2004. He was tired too. Read Jonah Keri’s book, “The Extra 2%.” The point is to find a different path to success since you can’t compete financially.

    For example, hire a really smart manager.

  9. kinickers77 on December 13th, 2012 3:29 pm

    @ the tourist – Hamilton has a much better track record of success than Figgins and Silva ever did. If Hamilton doesn’t do well, to the casual fan, it’d be more of a surprise than an expectation. With Figgins and Silva, sure there was hope they’d do well, but they had much less history to trust.

  10. amnizu on December 13th, 2012 3:30 pm


    >I’d consider them both above league average.

    Neither one of these players left the Mariners org and went straight to the major leagues. They spent additional years in another teams minor leagues system. So one could argue that the Indians AAA organization had some impact in their success as major league players.

  11. BlackHaloBender on December 13th, 2012 3:36 pm

    To everyone thinking the Angels overpaying for someone somehow creates a defeatist attitude you haven’t been paying attention. The defeatist attitude is a product of being defeated. Over and over again. Over 10 years.

    I will read the book thanks. But I thought managers had a very low impact on winning?

  12. rsrobinson on December 13th, 2012 3:45 pm

    If the Mariners enter the season without any major upgrades to the roster I can just about guarantee a fan revolt.

    Maybe Smoak, Ackley, and Montero will show improvement at the plate, and maybe Zunino and Hultzen will be up by midseason and making an impact, and maybe Gutierrez will remain relatively healthy, and maybe Saunders and Seager will continue to build on last season and the team will play above .500 ball. But that’s an awful lot of hoping and wishing to count on.

    After a decade of bad baseball the stench of mediocrity permeates this franchise. I used to watch at least 150 Mariners games a year on TV but that has been declining, especially in the dog days of summer as the team inevitably falls out of contention. My patience is wearing thin so go ahead and call me just another mouthbreather who is getting fed up with promises of a shining future if we’re only patient enough. Patience my ass.

  13. BlackHaloBender on December 13th, 2012 3:47 pm

    By the way. I don’t know about anyone else but I’m done bitching about it. The Mariners need to find a way to make this baseball team competitive.

    1.) Top free agents don’t want to come here.
    2.) The ownership will not overpay into contention
    3.) The Mariners suck at choosing and bringing up young non Pitching talent.

    1 + 2 + 3 = we need a different way to win or we should just cut payroll and live in the lap of luxury taxes.

    But seriously, wasn’t there talk of the M’s selling to a different owner?

  14. cnote on December 13th, 2012 3:48 pm

    The Phillies were always in the discussion for “best team of the decade” (2000s), so while I agree with Dave here, it’s still very true that ponying up for the 30+ guys works. I’d be okay with 10 years of great baseball and a few world series appearances, and then another 10 years of rebuilding (if it even takes that long). Who knows, Z could even be better than your average GM at unloading contracts. In Z I still trust…

  15. vetted_coach on December 13th, 2012 3:51 pm

    Regarding “mouthbreathers, etc”:

    When you resort to name-calling, you’ve lost the argument. Point to some evidence that Z and the M’s have accomplished anything to improve this club or its prospects for contending. No amount of smoke you blow creates anything formidable about this organization.

    Reacting honestly beats enabling a BS organization with denial and empty bleating. What do you know about building a successful baseball team? You know theory and speculation. And defensive name-calling.

  16. kazuc on December 13th, 2012 3:52 pm

    Zunino looks very promising, as do the young arms, but other than that, I’m not hugely impressed by the Mariners system, and some of the moves they’ve made. They had huge chips in Lee and Pineiro, and I think they should have gotten much more than Smoak and Montero for them. Ackley regressed last year. Even forgiving the lack of budget, there isn’t that much to be excited about right now…

  17. make_dave_proud on December 13th, 2012 3:52 pm

    “I’m not suggesting the Mariners should just sit back and do nothing. I am suggesting, however, that those who continue to yell from the rooftops that off-season spending determines future on field outcomes don’t know what they’re talking about.”

    Dave, I would generally agree with you but the Mariners still have done nothing. At this point (and not because of the Hamilton signing), I seriously doubt the Mariners can even overpay for talent. Players simply do not want to come play in Seattle. And who can blame them? There’s much more upside elsewhere than playing for a perennial doormat.

    Anyone who does yell, though — there’s some justification. The Mariners haven’t taken on huge contracts in years (Felix notwithstanding and Figgins was NOT a huge contract), and in that time they’re quite possibly the worst team in the major leagues. Cut the loudmouths a break for once — they’re seeing the same approach as in previous years, and they’re not crazy for expecting different results from what’s happened in the past.

  18. the tourist on December 13th, 2012 3:54 pm

    “3.) The Mariners suck at choosing and bringing up young non Pitching talent.”

    This is hilarious seeing as how of all teams on the road in 2012, the Mariners had the 8th most runs scored….

  19. Bremerton guy on December 13th, 2012 4:00 pm

    “the” tourist-

    No, not embarrassing at all. The most mythical of “the mythicized ’90s Mariners'” was the 95 team. Really, how many teams do you remember between 1995 and 2001. And Alex only played a few games at the end of the regular season in 1995.

    And speaking of 2001, the same game is fun to play with them. The only former homegrown prospects that contributed any thing to that team were Ryan Franklin, Joel Pineiro, Carlos Guillen, and Edgar. Wilson, Olerud, Boone, Bell, Buhner, Cameron, Ichiro, Javier, McLemore, Al Martin, Freddy Garcia, Norm Charlton, Paul Abbott, Jaime Moyer, John Halama, Kaz Sasaki, Aaron Sele, Arthur Rhodes, and the second time around for Jeff Nelson, they all came from somewhere else.

    I guess the point is that historically, the successful Ms teams resulted from being proactive both in player acquisition and player development. Those teams didn’t rely solely on minor league player development. I don’t disagree that prospect development is important, and it’s for that reason I hope Z doesn’t trade any of the young arms for some offense. If Swisher is in the least bit realistically interested, they should make the play, as I said in another thread a few days ago.

  20. eponymous coward on December 13th, 2012 4:06 pm

    I guess the point is that historically, the successful Ms teams resulted from being proactive both in player acquisition and player development.

    Exactly. Even Billy Beane doesn’t just sit around waiting for the farm to produce.

  21. the tourist on December 13th, 2012 4:20 pm

    “I guess the point is that historically, the successful Ms teams resulted from being proactive both in player acquisition and player development.”

    Right, and all the guys the Mariners drafted and traded in that time were simply chopped liver. I guess we have different opinions of development and whatnot. I think Montero is the Mariners to develop like Johnson and Buhner were the Mariners’ to develop. And Wilson. Oh and Boone came up with the Mariners to begin with. So did Ichiro, really. Anyway, I guess I’ll leave The Seattle Times comments section for parts west.

  22. tmac9311 on December 13th, 2012 4:23 pm

    man I didn’t realize so many M’s fans were hanging off the ledge waiting for Hamilton. There’s still a fair amount of guys available, including Swisher who is a better fit for us. Hamilton always reminded me of Peguero, just much much more successful. I hate watching that guy play, and the idea of paying that player type 25M a year terrifies me.

    bourn ross swisher laroache edwin jackson lohse liriano marcum oswalt etc. are all still available, not including good players i’m too stupid to know. The sky isn’t falling, this team can still pickup 2-3 guys that are significantly better than anything we had last year. Just because we can’t drool over the team before Christmas doesn’t mean we’re going to suck.

  23. Bremerton guy on December 13th, 2012 4:25 pm

    “I guess I’ll leave The Seattle Times comments section for parts west.”

    Wait, that’s an insult, right?

  24. Longgeorge1 on December 13th, 2012 4:31 pm

    Yea, but Billy Beane did finish in Oakland this year with an all rookie starting five and they came pretty close to making it to the series. My question is – Why can’t we teach our talent to play? Why do I have to watch Smoak, Peguero and Carp suck year after year. Why did Saunders have to hire a non -Mariner coach to teach him basic hitting fundementals? Why did Fister show up in Detroit as a struggling to stay in the show guy and become the man, not named Verlander that is. Why is it that Adam Jones was just a struggling talent – until someone in Baltimore taught him to hit. Why couldn’t R.A. Dickey become more than a journeyman with us and than become Cy Young? Yea you just can’t sit there waiting for the farm to produce. You have to know how to grow your crop or you will just have weeds. We could go down a long list and bore each other silly of Mariner prospects who failed to grow into major leaguers but other organizations some how turned them into solid major league players

  25. bluemoonking on December 13th, 2012 4:39 pm

    I am sooo glad that Jack has not done anything to break up this team… While all the other clubs spend millions on free agents and long term contracts, Jack has weathered the storm and stuck with whom got him to this point. Now it’s a matter of counting all those wins and the best part is that the Mariners will even make a profit.

  26. marcus_andrews on December 13th, 2012 9:05 pm

    I understand frustration, watching losing is no fun for anyone. I’m just confused as to why, on December 13th, everyone is losing their mind. The difference between today and yesterday in terms of available free agent hitters is 2 people: Josh Hamilton and Ichiro. The persistent sentiment seems to be “it’s not missing on Hamilton, it’s not doing anything” well we’re barely into the offseason. Just because the biggest name signed does not mean everyone has.

    This was a weak class to “make a splash” and if you were completely reliant on one free agent to be happy this offseason, I’m sorry but it was likely that you were going to be disappointed (29 teams will be every year if that’s the case). Swisher is still available. Bourn is still available. Laroche and Ross are still available. Plenty of trades are still possible. If, in March, we haven’t added anyone better than Jason Bay then maybe you can be outraged then but it is wayyy to early for me to freak out just yet.

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