Source: Rangers to trade for Halos' Hamilton
ANAHEIM -- Josh Hamilton's tumultuous stint in Southern California is nearing a resolution, one that would save the Angels some money and send the embattled outfielder back to the place he once thrived.
The Rangers are closing in on a deal to acquire Hamilton from the Angels, sources told MLB.com on Friday. Neither club has confirmed the trade, which still needs to clear several logistical hurdles before it's completed. But a source said the Angels would be receiving about $15 million in cash considerations, and no players, for a contract that will pay Hamilton about $90 million through the 2017 season.
Hamilton starred for the Rangers from 2008-12, starting five straight All-Star Games, winning an American League MVP Award and playing in back-to-back World Series. He joined the Angels with a five-year, $125 million contract in December 2012, but combined to hit .255 with 31 homers and 123 RBIs in 240 games over the next two years and hasn't been with the team in 2015.
"If he's back on a field, it's good for him," said C.J. Wilson, Hamilton's teammate on the Rangers and Angels.
"No matter what the situation is, I think Josh is going to pick up a 35-inch bat and go swing. That's what he's good at, and I think that's what he needs to be doing right now."
The two sides still have some legal work to sort through, but the deal could be announced by Monday, a source said.
Completion of the deal would officially end an uncomfortable situation between the Angels and Hamilton, a relationship that became contentious when Hamilton suffered a drug relapse late in the offseason. Since then, the 33-year-old outfielder has resided in Houston, staying at a friend's house while rehabbing from surgery to his right shoulder in early February.
"I hope he is healthy and his mind is in a good position," Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "The Josh we know can help us."
A handful of Angels players -- including David Freese, Kole Calhoun, Collin Cowgill and Wilson -- visited Hamilton while the team was in Houston last weekend and came away encouraged by his physique and demeanor.
"I thought he was in really good spirits," Freese said then. "The fact is he wants to play some baseball, and he's ready to roll."
Earlier this week, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said Hamilton would be reporting to the club's Arizona-based extended spring program "in the not-too-distant future." The tentative plan was for Hamilton to work out there for a couple weeks, then play at one of the Angels' Minor League affiliates for 20 days -- the maximum allotment for injured position players -- and perhaps return to the field by June.
But it had been clear all season that Hamilton wasn't necessarily being welcomed back.
The Angels were openly upset when an arbitrator ruled on April 3 that Hamilton did not violate the terms of his treatment program, mainly because he self-reported his drug relapse to Major League Baseball before a failed test. Angels president John Carpino said the ruling "defies logic," while Dipoto expressed the club's "disappointment" in Hamilton's actions with a statement.
The team did not issue Hamilton a locker at their Spring Training facility or at Angel Stadium, and has pulled all of his merchandise and likeness from the ballpark.
Prior to the home opener on April 10, Angels owner Arte Moreno declined to say Hamilton would ever play for his team again and added that he hasn't spoken to Hamilton since the end of the 2014 season.
Asked why, Moreno said, "Probably disappointment."
"I think that's probably the biggest word here," Moreno added. "We understand that he's had struggles, and obviously he's still having struggles, but the reality is there's accountability. When you make an agreement, you need to stand up."
Moreno said Hamilton's contract contains provisions that give the Angels recourse in the event of drug or alcohol use, a point that was quickly refuted by the MLB Players' Association in an ensuing statement. Any attempt to exercise those provisions would've probably resulted in a long, drawn-out battle between the Office of the Commissioner and the MLBPA. Releasing Hamilton would've required the Angels to pay his entire salary.
A trade that involved another team assuming some of Hamilton's contract was the most beneficial resolution.
"I wish he was here with us," Angels first baseman Albert Pujols said, "but at least it's a good scenario for him, going back home. But we don't really know what's going on."
Hamilton, who has reportedly filed for divorce from his wife, owns a home in Westlake, Texas, and has four daughters.
The Rangers acquired Hamilton from the Reds in December 2007, then benefitted from a five-year run in which he posted a .305/.363/.549 slash line while averaging 28 homers and 101 RBIs per season. Hamilton blasted a record 28 home runs in the opening round of the 2008 Home Run Derby from Yankee Stadium and went deep four times from Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 8, 2012.
But his stint in Texas ended on a sour note. He struggled mightily over the last four months of that 2012 season, then was showered with boos at Globe Life Park after his Rangers lost the AL Wild Card game to the Orioles.
Hamilton's lasting image with the Angels is very similar, with boos after an underwhelming postseason performance. This time it was the AL Division Series. Hamilton missed most of the preceding month with ailments along his right side, then went 0-for-13 in a sweep to the Royals and was jeered loudly at Angel Stadium in Games 1 and 2.
The ALDS was the last time many on the Angels had even seen Hamilton.
It'll probably end up being the last time he plays for them.
"It's going to be resolved one way or another in its own time," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said prior to Friday's game against the Rangers, Hamilton's old team and perhaps his newest employer.
"Whatever course this takes, it takes. We're just going to focus on playing baseball."