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Some Thoughts on the Hamilton Signing

December 13th, 2012

As you have surely already heard by now, the Angels shocked the baseball world for the second consecutive winter by signing free agent outfielder, Josh Hamilton to a five-year contract worth $125 million. Hamilton was widely considered the top free agent position player on the market, and it was assumed that he would resign with the Angels’ division rival, the Texas Rangers. But that all changed once the Halos swooped in.

Since reaching the big leagues in 2007 with the Reds, Hamilton has been one of the game’s premier sluggers, as well as one of its most popular stories. After being traded to the Rangers following the 2007 season, Hamilton has produced prolific numbers. The former AL MVP hit .285/.354/.577 with 43 home runs and 128 RBI’s last season with the Rangers. In his career to date, Hamilton has hit .304/.363/.549 while being worth just over 23 wins above replacement.

With the Hamilton signing the Angels’ lineup now looks like this:

  1. Mike Trout, CF
  2. Erick Aybar, SS
  3. Albert Pujols, 1B
  4. Josh Hamilton, LF
  5. Kendrys Morales, DH
  6. Mark Trumbo, RF
  7. Howie Kendrick, 2B
  8. Alberto Callaspo, 3B
  9. Chris Iannetta, C

The Angels have positioned themselves well for 2013. Hamilton is a big boost to their offense, which should be among the best in baseball, and they have already added quite a bit to their pitching staff this offseason. The Halos also now hold a surplus of outfielders, with Peter Bourjos and Vernon Wells on the bench, and Kole Calhoun in the upper minors. The Angels could look to upgrade their rotation by dealing a package built around Bourjos and/or Hank Conger. They could also try to rid themselves of Vernon Wells’ contract by packaging him up with one of the aforementioned players (or maybe Kendrys Morales) whilst also sending a large sum of cash in return.

The Angels also did well in stealing away Hamilton from the rival Rangers, who are in shambles after losing out on Hamilton, Zack Greinke, Justin Upton, and James Shields in less than a week’s time.

There is some risk in this deal, as Josh Hamilton is anything but a sure thing. We all know about his past troubles and injury history, so I won’t go into that, but he’s also on the wrong side of 30, and the Angels are essentially paying $125 million for the downturn of his career. The club’s payroll is significantly bloated, and this could come to hurt the Angels down the road if and when they attempt to lock up Mike Trout or add another piece down the road.

Overall, this signing looks great for the Angels in the immediate future. With a roster full of superstars, the Angels will be looking to make fans forget last season by making the playoffs in 2013. Right now, they look to be neck and neck with Texas as the division favorites. There are going to be really high expectations for this team next year, and Arte Moreno, Jerry Dipoto, and company are determined to live up to those expectations.

You can follow Justin Millar on twitter at @justinmillar1, or email him at Justinmillar1@gmail.com. Comment below to join the discussion.

Comments

6 Comments

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  • Paris says on: December 13, 2012 at 11:46 pm

     

    Great signing. The lineup looks like a solid blend of intimidation, power, speed, defense, and overall balance. Forget the money for a minute (it’s not ours so who cares), but in a vacuum Hamilton is a huge upgrade over Hunter, and contrary to popular belief Blanton and Hanson are actually very similar (if not upgrades) over the terrible Santana and downtrending Haren. Either way, it seems like people ragged on the rotation last season even though the starters were basically top 3 in every category like quality starts, WHIP, baa, etc.

    The bullpen was what did them in along with one bad month, from Pujols especially. Burnett and Madson should provide upgraded talent/depth over Izzy and Hawkins and Carpenter. Frieri, Downs, and Jepsen are keepers and only faded due to overuse. Angels still managed to have the best winning percentage in baseball once Trout was on board. Can’t wait to see what they do with him over 162 games and a patched up bullpen. Unfortunately they’re not in the terrible AL Central where a mediocre team like Detroit can sneak in, but Angels are deeper and more prepared this season to hang with Texas.

    Angels trending upwards for the last 3 years, going to continue it this season. Can’t complain when the GM keeps making solid moves and improves the team wherever necessary.

    Good time to be a Halo Honk…hopefully the Dodgers can keep up and make it a good rivalry with exciting baseball.

    • Dubya19 says on: December 14, 2012 at 10:29 am

       

      Hamilton is a huge upgrade over Hunter?

      2012 WAR:

      Hamilton – 3.3
      Hunter – 5.5

      2008-2012 WAR:

      Hamilton – 20.8
      Hunter – 19.7

      Granted, Hunter is 37 and Hamilton 31, but this isn’t the “huge upgrade” you think it is.

  • Dubya19 says on: December 14, 2012 at 10:34 am

     

    Neck and neck as “division favorites”?

    The Angels are still clearly only the third best team in the AL West and only project to maybe 80-85 wins in 2013. Yes, you got Hamilton, but as I explained to Paris, you’ve lost Torii Hunter, who was a big key to the Angels winning 89 games last season. You have an ascendant (and full season) of Mike Trout, and that helps, but likely further regression from Pujols. The Angels offense in 2013 will likely be a little stronger than this past season but not substantially so. The rotation looks like an absolute liability at this point. Who can you really count on besides Weaver? Wilson is shaky, at best, and we’ll have to see if the injury affects him in any way. Tommy Hanson, Joe Blanton, Jerome Williams, Garrett Richards….? That shouldn’t inspire any confidence whatsoever.

  • Justin Millar says on: December 14, 2012 at 11:00 am

     

    Dubya,

    I think you’re being overly pessimistic here. Hamilton should be better than hunter in 2013. They also could use bourjos/trumbo to upgrade the pitching. Don’t sit on this team like last year

    • Dubya19 says on: December 14, 2012 at 12:12 pm

       

      The point is that it took a 5-WAR season from Torii Hunter to help get the Angels to just 89 wins in 2012. So subtract him off for 2013 and assuming even a 7-WAR season from JH (a fairly bold assumption given he only had two 5+ WAR seasons in his prime), ceteris paribus, that just gets you to 91 wins. And I’m sorry, but the rotation is looking putrid right now. It would take the 2013 staff over-achieving to even match the 2012 staff’s under-achieving numbers. Optimistically the Angels are still looking like just another 85-90 win team. Maybe enough to get a second wild card but not serious pennant/WS contenders.

  • ParisB says on: December 14, 2012 at 5:35 pm

     

    haha…keep it up Dubya. Your wife letting you post again? LOL.

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