Archive for the ‘Josh Hamilton’ Category

Tampa Bay Rays v Houston Astros

Kaboom! Pow! The Angels come back against the Cardinals!

Break up the Angels! The Halos discovered the Cardinals fatal flaw and exploited it for a walkoff victory! No, not their less than spectacular bullpen. I mean Mike Matheny‘s blindspot for Adam Wainwright.

Sure, Wainwright was cruising and had only thrown just 98 pitches headed into the ninth inning. With the “heart” of the Angels lineup due up, Mike Matheny opted to leave Wainwright in to face Albert Pujols, Josh Hamilton, and Howie Kendrick.

Pujols greeted Wainwright with a slider and that was the end of the night for the Cards ace. Perhaps one batter too late, Matheny went to his closer Edward Mujica, who pitched the night before in mop up duty designed to just get him work, hasn’t been quite as sharp of late, surrendering two home runs and five hits in his last five combined outings.

Josh Hamiton greeted Mujica and his nasty splitter in a very rude way indeed.

Two singles later the Angels were in a very threatening position, with runners on the corners and nobody out. Mujica battled back to retire the next two Angels but Erick Aybar slapped the above walkoff single into left field and the party began. Second guessing is easy but that’s the way it works in this biz, amirite?

The Cardinals don’t have bullpen problems quite as bad as recent years, which isn’t to say they couldn’t stand to upgrade some parts of their pen. As they are the Cardinals, they have myriad options should the choose to bolster their pen.

Trade one of your zillion prospect chips for a proven relief ace or just move one of zillion hyped arms into the bullpen, ala the 2012 playoff pen featuring current 2+ fWAR starter Shelby Miller and setup king Trevor Rosenthal? They’re the Cardinals, they do whatever they please.

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For many, the idea that our lives are nothing more than a series of random events occurring outside the control of ourselves or some celestial being is either far too much or not nearly enough to consider. It’s a frightening thing to go against what one is naturally inclined to do. After all, we’ve evolved into beings with brains that fabricate significance, and we instinctively attach this quality to different experiences as a method of producing meaning without much regard for accuracy.

In baseball, this practice is undertaken so frequently that fans of the sport have developed a counter argument against misplaced significance consisting of only three words: “Small sample size.” The term conveys that an opinion about a baseball player’s ability is giving too much credence to what could be the randomization found in a small amount of occurrences. For example, if a batter faces a pitcher four times and gets four hits, it doesn’t mean that he’s great against that particular pitcher. There were only four instances from which to draw a conclusion, and several other random factors could account for success or failure.

Randomization is an important concept in baseball, not just because of the camouflage it presents to analytics and evaluation, but also because it’s played such an enormous role in one of the sport’s most fascinating figures: Josh Hamilton.

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Remember like an hour ago when I attempted tossing cold water on Josh Hamilton-to-Los Angels rumors? Well the Hot Stove just brought that cold water to a triumphant boil.

The entire universe has all but confirmed Josh Hamiton is about to sign a five-year, $125 Million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. The five years thing is huge, as early rumblings pointed to a three or four year deal for the injury-prone outfielder. The impact of Josh Hamilton joining the Angels will reverberate throughout baseball, he not-at-all profoundly said.

But seriously: wow. This is happening.

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You can never have too many outfielders. No matter what the rules of Major League Baseball stipulate in regards to roster size; if you pay them enough money, you can field a team of 30 players with up to five players starting in the outfield.

Despite owing Vernon Wells $42 million over the next two years and contending with an outfield/DH logjam, somebody apparently thinks the Angels are making a move for Josh Hamilton. Is this idea just crazy enough to work?

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The Song Remains The Same

Take this will all “Jim Bowden might be crazy” grains of salt but it looks like the Bad Old Days are back again. Red Sox and Yankees bidding for the services of player as his former team desperately tries to stay in the conversation.

The Rangers are no shrinking violet but this…this is where all the talk of “shorter years and more dollars” goes out the window. If the Yankees, Red Sox, and heavily subsidized Rangers get into a bidding war, you can start tacking on years to the end of any deal with modest term in its DNA. ALL THE YEARS AND ALL THE DOLLARS is officially in play, leaving the Seattle Mariners to stand on Hamilton’s lawn blasting Peter Gabriel to no avail.

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As if it wasn’t all but certain that Josh Hamilton would be sporting a new uniform next season, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports that the Texas Rangers will not offer the free agent outfielder a deal that exceeds three years. Citing an unnamed “high-ranking team official”, Nightengale alludes to a Rangers future that does not include Hamilton in the picture.

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When news of Josh Hamilton’s asking price on the free agent market was first reported – the former American League MVP is believed to be seeking a $175 million contract to be doled out over the next seven years – the response varied as to whether or not such a target was realistic.  Some believed the terms to be preposterous, while others suggested that there would be at least one front office out there willing to approach such a demand. Among the arguments for or against such a contract being offered there was one common theme: the player’s past.

By now, we’re all somewhat aware that Josh Hamilton’s past includes a lot of drugs and a lot of alcohol. It’s easy for us to blindly state that a recovering alcoholic and drug addict is the exact type of person in whom you do not want to invest tens of millions of dollars. They will always be affected by their past, right? We’ve heard the pop psychology explanations about such things time and time again. Once you’re an addict, you’re always an addict.

I’m severely under qualified to examine the legitimacy of such a statement. And I suspect that the great majority of us should be similarly indisposed to offering opinions on how the life of an addict might affect his or her future ability to stay healthy. Nonetheless, we imagine that we understand these things enough to use Hamilton’s non-baseball playing past to judge the value and worth of Josh Hamilton as a baseball player in the future.

I don’t know why the human mind feels the need to do this, but it does. We convince ourselves that our own understanding expands far beyond its rather limited boundaries and then we use our overestimation to explain and pass judgment on things that we truly can’t begin to understand. This is the basis for about 95% of what’s written about sports.

Perhaps most bothersome about those referring to Hamilton’s past as a means of refuting his future value is that it’s being done without much in the way of understanding what comprises his past. While I don’t believe it’s possible to wholly understand how Josh Hamilton’s past affects his future, we might be able to at least glean something that approaches an understanding of his past, or at least the past that’s been presented to us in interviews and features through the years.

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