I’d been wondering if this might happen myself. Now that the Los Angeles Angels have issued a statement I realize I wasn’t the only one wondering what the team’s reaction would be to whatever news that came along with Josh Hamilton‘s confession that he had relapsed on alcohol and cocaine.
Would the Angels feel like they’d be better off with Hamilton suspended (likely without pay) and without him in the lineup or with Hamilton back? And which outcome were they most hoping for?
Hamilton’s confession of a drug and alcohol relapse was excused without penalty, meaning he can return to the team as soon as he has recovered from his offseason shoulder surgery, something the Angels already suspiciously may have used to keep him away from the team.
While most players remain with their teams during recoveries from various injuries, Hamilton was, for unknown reasons, recovering at a friend’s Texas ranch. He didn’t even have a locker at the Angels’ spring training facilities in Tempe, AZ. See? I told you something was suspicious.
When the Angels issued their statement regarding Major League Baseball’s ruling on Hamilton, it came off more as – and I like how Yahoo Sports’ Tim Brown put it – “a public scolding,” than anything else. Here’s a piece of general manager Jerry DiPoto’s statement,
“The Angels have serious concerns about Josh’s conduct, health and behavior and we are disappointed that he has broken an important commitment which he made to himself, his family, his teammates and our fans. We are going to do everything possible to assure he receives proper help for himself and for the well-being of his family.”
I’d think it’s safe to say that the Angels wanted Hamilton suspended. Yes, he had quite a few transgressions in the minors, and a long suspension, during which they wouldn’t have to pay him, would have helped the Angels out with at least part of the remaining $83 million left on Hamilton’s contract. A contract that runs through the 2018 season.
Hamilton has “disappointed” the Angels in more ways than being an addict, a fact about him they knew before they signed him.
He’s been a disappointment for not being the same player that he was with the Texas Rangers. This could be simply due to age or injury but he hasn’t been what the Angels expected when they put all that money into him, $125 million for five years to be exact. His numbers have dwindled, now he’s relapsed.
The Angels had to have had some kind of idea what they were getting when they signed Hamilton. Sure he had the letters M, V and P, accompanying him but he was already getting older and they knew about his past. Hamilton will be 34 in May. The Angels couldn’t possibly have thought his body would hold up or that he’d put up the same numbers that he did at 29-31 years old.
He spent time on the disabled list twice last season, came back for the playoffs and went 0-13 at the plate. I’m sure the Angels were also “disappointed” about that too.
The Angels statement says the team will do “everything possible to assure he receives proper help for himself.”
“That sentence can be read a few different ways” writes Yahoo Sports’ Chris Cwik, “The team may be willing to give Hamilton the time to get right, and allow him to deal with the situation until he’s ready to return to the field. It could also imply that the club would prefer Hamilton stay away from the team for quite some time.”
To make the DiPoto’s statement abundantly clear so that there’s no way it could be misinterpreted Angels’ president John Carpino made a statement of his own,
“It defies logic that Josh’s reported behavior is not a violation of his drug program,” Carpino said, according to Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times.
They wanted a nice long A-Rod like suspension. They didn’t want to pay him to be mediocre. So much so, it seems they almost wanted the relapse to happen and when it did, who did the right thing?
Josh Hamilton. He stepped up and admitted his mistake before getting caught which is a lot more than you can say for a lot of players in recent memory. He’s recovering from surgery, public humiliation and there’s a high liklihood that there are familial reprocussions he’s recovering from as well.
Did the Angeles need to make it so public that they want nothing to do with him? Where was the point in berrating a man who’s already down and out? Someone who probably could have used a hand to help him up.
I guess the point was to make it clear that they want nothing to do with him. However, if getting rid of regrettable contracts were that easy then Alex Rodriguez, among others, would be out of jobs.
This fact makes the Angels’ reaction to the outcome of the situation inexcusable, there was no point at all to react they way they did, and did it so publicly.
He’ll need help, which he is supposedly already getting at home in Texas, to make sense of his actions and help him control his impulse to use alcohol and drugs to self-medicate when something in his world goes wrong.
The Angels may have said they will help, but all they did was make a bad situation worse and make themselves look terrible in the process.
However you personally define addiction shouldn’t matter, Hamilton needed the Angels’ to do the exact opposite of what they did. The statements made are pretty despicable actually.
Way to keep it classy Anaheim (since that is the city they actually play in, wouldn’t want any confusion with the Los Angeles’ real team) Angels, you stay classy.