Los Angeles Angels Sign Josh Hamilton: 1 Big Reason This Move Was Made
From coast to coast, the move (a reported five-year, $125 million contract, according to ESPN Dallas) caused a media frenzy around the MLB offseason coverage, and that is exactly what Angels owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto had in mind.
Regardless if the contract makes sense, or if Hamilton fits in the lineup, the idea of snagging a few headlines away from their neighbors, the Los Angeles Dodgers, is just as important in the grand scheme of things for the Angels.
No, the Angels aren't in the same division or even the same league as the Dodgers, but that doesn't mean it's a bad idea to compete for an audience—which happens when there are two teams in such close proximity.
And let's face it: The big-named spending spree by the Dodgers organization had left the Angels resembling the next-door neighbor’s kid that didn't get what he wanted for Christmas.
"But mommy, Magic said he got a Zack Greinke this year...why did I only get this Joe Blanton and some reliever guys? And my Tommy Hanson's arm keeps falling off!"
I regress, although I could keep that going for a while.
But honestly, why spend so much cash on a position you didn't really need covered unless you are trying to impress the kids?
Certainly, most fans understand that the organization has done an excellent job rebuilding the bullpen, which was the highest need this offseason, and deciding not to spend big on a player that will only impact games once every five days (Greinke) was a smart move.
However, none of that has been credited to the Angels' solid winter. Even FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal scribbled a concern for a less-than-stellar shopping offseason by the Angels in this article.
The esteemed Mr. Rosenthal, like many, thought that Arte Moreno was not going to spend for high-priced talent just to finish in third place, again. Unfortunately, that summation misses the new reality of the MLB.
It doesn't matter what organizations tell the media or public about possible trades and free-agent signings. Baseball is currently more about the business side than ever before, and spending money, assuming you have it, is not a concern in order to keep that business flowing.
And the Angels, backed by a lucrative TV deal, have the money.
Without question, following the Greinke deal, something needed to be done by the Angels. A move needed to be made, regardless of the cash it would take.
So why not Josh Hamilton?
Is signing Hamilton a smart move by the Angels?
He will give the Angels a power bat—that isn't right-handed—and provide protection for Albert Pujols. Hamilton's ability to play all of the outfield positions will also give the Angels options for the future while continuing to mature Peter Bourjos and searching for trade avenues to shop Vernon Wells.
Sure, there should be concern for the mental side of the game. Hamilton has pulled himself from drug-addicted obscurity all the way to home run king. His plastering of balls into the Bronx night back in 2008 would eventually be overshadowed by his relapses back into addiction, even adding a new one on his quit-list in the summer of 2012 (smokeless tobacco.)
But these are only minor concerns when compared to other factors: Josh Hamilton will be a headline-making machine, backed by Albert Pujols, giving the fans something to be excited about every game (not just every five or so). And he will be doing all this while not in a Rangers or Dodgers uniform.
That scenario, bringing the Angels closer to the Dodgers in a competitive Los Angels market, is why this deal was made. It's about not finishing second to an inner-city rival, regardless of the price.
Hopefully while continuing this race, the Angels don't forget that finishing third in the AL West, again, is a much more daunting outcome.
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