Why The Texas Rangers Should Not Keep Josh Hamilton
DALLAS– By David Naxon
Josh Hamilton is by far the most talented headache in baseball, but is no longer worth the team’s money and attention. The 2010 AL MVP may have played his last game as a Texas Ranger. In the final year of his contract, Hamilton gave the Rangers a roller-coaster season with career defining highs, and career damaging lows.
He began the year with an alcohol relapse in early February, which was just the start of the wild season for Hamilton. Two months into the season, on May 8th, Hamilton had a historic night in Baltimore where he had four two-run homers in one game. In that moment, Hamilton appeared on his way to winning a second MVP and even a possible triple crown, but the roller-coaster known as Josh Hamilton took a huge dip from its highest point.
Over the following two months, Hamilton became one of the worst players in baseball. In June, he had a batting average of .223 with four HR and 16 RBI. The numbers only got worse in July, where he hit a career low .177 with four HR and just 11 RBI.
At the end of the horrid two months of baseball, Hamilton told local Dallas media that he began to dip tobacco again, and this was God’s way of punishing him. If not already, speculation grew across North Texas as to whether Hamilton should return to the Rangers next year. He was clearly in a fragile state, and taking two months off because God is punishing him is not exactly what Rangers fans were looking to hear, especially when the team has to invest close to $20 million per season just to keep him in the future.
Hamilton bounced back the following two months, with a .300 batting average, along with 14 HR and 43 RBI. Then October came, and the roller-coaster dipped to an all-time low. On Sept. 26, Hamilton removed himself from a crucial game versus the Athletics in the midst of a division race, claiming to have sinus issues. Three days later, it was discovered that Hamilton was suffering from ocular keratitis, a drying of the cornea, caused by too much caffeine and energy drinks.
The Rangers went on to lose five of its last six games; as Hamilton batted .154 in October’s three final regular season games. Those three games were all lost to Oakland, as was their AL West crown to the A’s. Hamilton played horribly in the series, and then went on to go a putrid 0-4 in a Wild Card loss at home to Baltimore. He had become the scapegoat of the Rangers’ historic collapse.
Now the question arises, will the Rangers attempt to re-sign Josh Hamilton? I think we already know the answer. GM John Daniels and the Rangers have brought up the number one prospect in baseball, in SS Jurickson Profar, who has already looked promising in the minimal action he got with the Rangers late this season. Adrian Beltre has a monster year and was the clear cut MVP of the team. Yu Darvish is now looking like the ace he was signed to be. The Rangers will also use the money they could have paid Hamilton, and get more help with a centerfielder like BJ Upton, or pitcher like Zack Greinke.
The Rangers will rest this offseason and be looking to compete again in 2013.
As for Hamilton, he has said all along, that he plans to accept the largest contract he is offered, and wants to use that money to “save the world.” Who will be the team to highly overpay for an inconsistent, 31 year old superstar, who has the most baggage and drama of any player in the league? There are plenty of teams willing to do that, I just don’t believe it should be the Texas Rangers. For Hamilton, the roller-coaster will have to go somewhere else.