A Cautionary Tale

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This isn’t so much a warning about the dangers of drug abuse. You’re old enough to know about them. Yes, there are many reasons that folks get involved in narcotics, but ultimately that is a choice that as an individual they have to live with. Former Angels and now current Rangers OF Josh Hamilton has been living with that choice for a while.

I’m not here to chronicle his history with drug abuse. He had so much promise being a high draft pick of the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays in 1999. He didn’t start to live up to that promise until he was acquired by the Texas Rangers in 2007. Since then he has appeared in five All-Star games and two World Series. He turned that into a 5 year – $125 million dollar contract with the Los Angeles Angels in the 2012 offseason.

At the time everyone in baseball knew the risks with signing Hamilton. It wasn’t just the drug history, but the fact that his injuries were starting to mount during his tenure in Arlington. The Texas Rangers were somewhat banking on that with their approach in the negotiations. Angels owner Arte Moreno is among one of the best owners in baseball for the simple reason that he wants to win. Almost at any cost. His spending spree with Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson in the 2011 offseason was the pre-cursor to the Hamilton signing.

Moreno certainly was overreaching to bring in Hamilton as there weren’t many suitors for Hamilton other than Texas. Giving him five years at the time was being debated as a mistake and it certainly is now. Texas probably shouldn’t have been so passive in their negotiations with Hamilton. Since he left they haven’t made the Postseason and have been struggling to find a replacement as the ‘face of the franchise’ since his departure.

Hamilton admitted since being reacquired by the Rangers that he probably shouldn’t have left Texas. That’s an interesting thing for him to say after all of this. I’m not being facetious, but anybody in his position with or without the drug history would have taken the money.

He certainly needs to get himself right and coming forward to MLB that he relapsed was the right thing to do. The Angels were within their right to try to get out from the contract, but they certainly could have handled it in a different manner. And the Rangers don’t really come away with anything more than a man who probably shouldn’t have left and who might put more fans in the seats for the dog days of summer.

Josh Hamilton doesn’t deserve to be vilified for any of this. I’m sure he’s doing that to himself for the mistakes he’s made. That’s his penance for the choice he has made. He doesn’t’ ask for any pity, but he should be given some space to get things right. This trade helps everyone move on, but this certainly should have been handled in a more dignified way from the start.

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