One of the debates about Josh Hamilton signing with the Angels was whether or not the Mariners were truly making a competitive offer to the all-star outfielder.
According to sources, they were in all the way. The Mariners offered Hamilton a four-year, $100 million deal with vesting options for a fifth and sixth year. Those options were easily attainable, probably along the lines of 400 to 450 plate appearances, which Hamilton could have gotten in playing about 100 games.
So if the options were so easily attainable, why not just offer Hamilton the fifth year? Well, it’s protection in case he got hurt or was out of baseball. But basically, the Mariners had 150 million on the table.
Basically, it boils down to the Angels coming in and offering the fifth year guaranteed. And also Hamilton not really wanting to play in Seattle.
There’s another factor to consider. Hamilton has always been comfortable being the secondary focus. In countless interviews, and even in the few times I talked to him, he referred to the Rangers as “Michael Young’s team.”
Going to a situation like Seattle, where he would be the sole focus, the “man,” isn’t something he desires or relishes. He just wants to play baseball and live his life. Going to Los Angeles and playing with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols does that.
And let’s be frank, all things being equal, Hamilton goes to LA over Seattle because they can win right now.
Let’s get to some reaction …
TNT columnist John McGrath – a proponent of signing Hamilton – offered his thoughts ..
This is what I wrote: “Because of concerns about the durability of a body once ravaged by drug abuse, Hamilton, 31, figures to command no more than a three-year deal worth, say, $20 million a season.”
Hamilton signed Thursday for a reported $125 million over five seasons, so my projection was, ahem, just a bit outside. I assumed he could be had for $60 million; the Angels gave him more than twice that.
In any case, Hamilton would have been right for the Mariners at $20 million annually over three seasons, and he’s right for the Angels – at least in the short term – at $25 million annually over five seasons.
But he wasn’t right for the Mariners at those numbers. Five seasons, just as he’s entering the decline phase of a typical baseball player’s career? No deal.
- Jeff Sullivan of Fangraphs analyzed the signing and what Hamilton could be for the Angels.
- Jeff Sullivan of Lookout Landing (I think the same guy) also wrote some analysis for his site
- Dave Cameron of USS Mariner has a few posts up on fan reaction.
- Bill Plaschke also writes about the Angels painting the town red.
- Jeff Passan writes about the rivalry now established with the Rangers and Angels