Angels Must Pay Hamilton And They're Not Happy
Drug Relapse Will Keep Him On The Sidelines
April 13, 2015
Major League baseball has announced it won't investigate the Josh Hamilton case, and that means the Angels are stuck with his sizeable contract for this season.
Recovering from a relapse of substance abuse, Hamilton probably won't help the Angels much this season even though the Angels signed him for five years for $125 million which includes $23 million for this season.
In all the years I've been a sportswriter I've seen teams often back their players, asking for the public to understand a problem, even show sympathy.
But the Angels aren't in that category now. They've made it clear they're quite disappointed in Hamilton and want him to clean up his act.
"The Angels have serious concerns about Josh's conduct, health and behavior," said General Manager Jerry DiPoto.
The Angels also announced they're disappointed with the decision of an arbitrator that Hamilton didn't abuse conditions of his drug treatment program, largely because someone leaked confidential information about his situation.
The Angels were greatly disappointed and that's putting it mildly.
Hamilton admitted becoming addicted to crack cocaine following an automobile accident in 2001.
He failed several drug tests and was suspended from baseball from 2003 to 2005 but came back so well he became the American league MVP in 2010 with the Texas Rangers.
He became a free agent and the Angels made one of the biggest mistakes in their history by signing Hamilton to a huge contract and disposing of Torri Hunter, at 38 a right fielder with a lot of ability and a highly regarded club leader.
Sportswriter Chris Long summed up the feelings of many in the industry by observing "signing Hamilton and losing Hunter changed the environment in the clubhouse."
Hunter wanted to stay but the Angels were set on acquiring Hamilton and didn't have enough money in their budget for two right fielders.
It's true the Angels won a baseball best 98 games last season without much help from Hamilton but were quickly eliminated from the playoffs. Now they face another season trying to fill in for him.
Hamilton is recovering from a shoulder injury and is currently on the disabled list. He isn't likely to get off that list until May.
According to baseball rules time on the disabled list counts toward the end of a suspension, so even if Hamilton had been suspended he would have benefitted from that rule.
While the Angels are disappointed they'll have to pay Hamilton's salary this season a strong argument is they only have themselves to blame for signing him to such a large contract considering his past problems.