The Texas Rangers currently lead the American League in wins, lead the West by four games over the Angels, and have a team slash line of .282/.342/.460, and yes, they also have a soon to be free agent named Josh Hamilton, who happens to lead the league with 21 home runs.
With the 83rd All-Star Game approaching quickly, many would expect the early leader in voting with 2,587,991 votes to take part in the derby, correct? Think again.
Hamilton, even before any calls from American League captain of the home run derby, Robinson Cano, could be made, told manager Ron Washington he would decline any involvement in the contest.
Ron Washington: “He has so much torque in his swing. If he swings and misses, he could get hurt, and if he’s hurt, we’re hurt”
One wonders if Hamilton remembers his 2008 All-Star performance, and I’m sure he does, as Hamilton set a record for most first-round home runs with 28. That season, he went into the break with 21 home runs, took part in the derby, and went on to hit only 11 after the break, which is a trend that has started to show more the last several years. Alex Rios, while a member of the Blue Jays, took part in the 2007 derby and saw his home run total drop from 17 pre-derby to 7 post-derby. Bobby Abreu hit 18 home runs pre-All-Star break, took part in the derby in 2005, hit 41 total home runs, and hit only 6 post-All-Star break.
Anyway you look at it, the Rangers are happy with the decision, and I’m sure the Hamilton camp is happy as well. I don’t think they want a possible injury to occur while taking swings in a derby, or a decline in production in the second half to occur, with a major pay-day only months away as the biggest free agent on the market this off season.