The Repercussions of the Josh Hamilton Contract

“Hindsight is 20/20.” “You can’t cry over spilled milk.” “Monday morning quarterback.” These are all terms people use to express the feeling of what’s done is done; although these terms are very true, they can not be applied in my opinion to the Josh Hamilton contract.

Don’t get me wrong, I am ecstatic that the Angels did not sign Masahiro Tanaka. What’s really bothering me is the report that the Angels didn’t even extend an offer because they did not want to go over the luxury tax. It was indeed bad money management that put the Halos in the position they are today. A position they wouldn’t be in had they passed on Hamilton.

It appears this team is suffering from selective amnesia, the money that was used in the Hamilton contract was earmarked for pitching. They chose instead to ignore that, and sign Hamilton to a contract which ultimately led to patchwork repairs of the pitching staff. The cost? They lost a homegrown player with a huge upside in Mark Trumbo. They essentially let go of a young player for someone with inflated numbers who hit in a hitters park in Arlington.

The Angels had a backup plan, Matt Garza if and when the negotiations with Masahiro Tanaka fell through. Well, they did, and Garza signed a four-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Now what? According to the Angels general manager they are “prepared to move forward with their current roster.” What does that mean? A fifth consecutive year without a playoff appearance? If that’s the case, how did the Josh Hamilton contract change anything? Did Hamilton make the Angels more competitive this past year? Of course not, so what’s going to be different this year? If the Angels would have been more careful with their money, The Halos would have money in the budget to sign a high quality pitcher without relying on a backup plan.

How will that translate when it comes time to re-sign Mike Trout? If the Angels weren’t competitive with Tanaka, how do they expect to be competitive with Trout? Will the Angels be willing to go over the luxury tax with a Trout contract? I sincerely hope so, I would be willing to go one more year without a playoff appearance if that meant the Halos would sign Trout to a long-term contract. On the other hand, how is this team going to remain attractive and a viable option for Trout if the Angels do not make the playoffs this year? It has yet to be seen if the current roster will make an impact this year, as a fan, I sincerely hope so. However, I highly doubt it.

-ICE
Related Articles: http://losangeles.angels.mlb.com/news/article/ana/angels-sit-out-masahiro-tanaka-sweepstakes?ymd=20140122&content_id=66964996

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article/mlb/anthony-castrovince-los-angeles-angels-need-to-figure-out-what-mike-trout-is-worth?ymd=20140211&content_id=67635368&vkey=news_mlb

4 Comments

All available money now is going towards re-signing Mike Trout….

While I agree that all available money should and will go to Trout, the million dollar question is, can the Angels put an attractive enough on the field product to keep him? I’m sure it will not be all about the money. He’s going to want to win championships, and he’s going to weigh if the Angels can help him do that. That’s for my concern lies.

The number of years on Hamilton’s contract had a lot of people scratching their heads, but remember it’s not just Hamilton’s contract. Even worse is the terms of Pujols’ contract. Like many teams, the Angels are spending all that lucrative TV money that has started to flow recently. Unfortunately it’s going to badly inflate LOTS of contracts and we’re already seeing it. By the time it’s Trout’s turn, how much of that TV money is still going to be available? I’m not the Angels management but if I were them, I’d stop worrying about a lot of the free agents (except Trout) and start working on rebuilding what is now one of the worst farm systems in baseball for the long-term good of the franchise.

I’ve always been skeptical about Hamilton, but Albert has been a different story. He is a great hitter, especially coming off the performance in this last World Series as a Cardinal. (Sorry for the painful reminder Steve) he hasn’t had one healthy year as an Angel yet, so I think the jury’s still out on Albert. Hamilton on the other hand has been relatively healthy and just hasn’t been producing. His last year in Texas wasn’t that great, especially in another time the Angels needed pitching after losing Greinke. The writing was on the wall then, why would they want to go after Hamilton? They most likely wanted to take a weapon away from Texas which is a bad strategy to begin with. Bad decisions have ripple effects, and unfortunately the Angels are dealing with the ripple effects now.

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