Angels Getting Close to Signing Josh Hamilton
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.