(L- R: Josh Hamilton and a woman he is not married to)
With roughly 6 weeks to go in Josh Hamilton‘s inaugural campaign in Anaheim, it’s hardly too soon to wonder whether or not his miserable 2013 season is a mid-career aberration or a harbinger of what’s to come in his 4 remaining years as an Angel. If you’re tempted to consider Hamilton’s 5-year, $125 million pact one of the worst deals this side of Albert Pujols’, cheer up, Angels fans. The LA Times’ Mike DiGiovanni offers another comparison ; “Hamilton’s paltry numbers look eerily similar to what the overpaid Vernon Wells produced in 2011 and 2012 — occasional pop, awful everything else.”
“I’ve struggled in life, but I’ve never not succeeded in the game, from the time I was 3 years old to now,” said Hamilton, who was banned from baseball from 2003 to 2005 because of an addiction to cocaine and alcohol. “God takes you out of your comfort zone sometimes to help you grow.”
The Angels don’t need personal growth from Hamilton. They need offense, the kind he provided from 2008 to 2012 in Texas, where he had a .305/.363/.549 slash line and averaged 28 homers and 101 RBIs a year.
“It’s a typical pitching pattern that gets him out — left-handed breaking balls down and away, right-handed changeups down and away,” one major league scout said. “There’s just not a whole lot of adjustments going on.”
“This wasn’t just something that happened in April,” another scout said. “He wasn’t very good in the second half last year.”
Hamilton’s struggles have played with his psyche.
“When things are feeling good and you’re not getting results, people want to find a specific problem, like I’m swinging at pitches out of the zone, I’m impatient, I’m moving my hands, my head,” Hamilton said. “Mine is thinking too much. When you start looking for a problem, it creates problems. That’s where we’re at.