MLB Trades: Texas Rangers Need to Deal Josh Hamilton Now

The Texas Rangers just need to do it. Team president Nolan Ryan just needs to grit his teeth and pull the trigger on a trade for All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton. This column is a debate with Rant Sports columnist Peter Ellwood, who thinks Texas should keep Hamilton. You can read Ellwood’s take here.

Look, Hamilton was a great story, but the key word there is “was.” He puts up big numbers, then slumps with the worst of them all while battling some serious injury each season. Throw in his yearly alcohol relapse and you’ve got a real headache.

Hamilton started the 2012 MLB season on a historic page, leading all of baseball in every major batting category. His former Rangers teammate, Los Angeles Angels pitcher CJ Wilson, even predicted Hamilton would break Barry Bonds‘s single-season home run record. However, things have certainly taken a turn for the worse.

Things seemed to cap when Hamilton hit four home runs during a single game in early May. Since then, it’s been all downhill.

Hamilton’s latest alcohol relapse in February really put the Rangers in a dilemma; the team was about to award the slugger with a hefty new contract that would all but ensure he retired a Ranger. Now, in the final year of his contract, Hamilton has dug himself into a hole.

Hamilton is batting just .145 in June, was booed by the Texas crowd after striking out twice against the Chicago White Sox on Saturday and was then taken out of the lineup.

No, that doesn’t mean Hamilton’s trade value is at an all-time low right now. Slumps happen in baseball and that’s why he’ll be a hot commodity until the MLB trade deadline officially passes.

The Rangers need to get rid of him now because right before that deadline is when franchise-changing moves happen. Hamilton needs this team way more than it needs him. It’s his fault and no one else’s that he doesn’t have a big new contract now, yet he has the audacity to basically say ‘I’ll be more expensive later if you don’t sign me now.’

That’s not what a leader does. The Rangers are loaded with talent and they need leadership. Hamilton can’t hit four home runs in a game if he’s in a rehab clinic this time next year.

Texas can patch up the few holes in its lineup by using Hamilton as trade bait. The rotation definitely could use some work, especially after Colby Lewis’s season-ending surgery. The Rangers could use a more consistent slugger than Hamilton and that might be relatively easy to acquire with his big name in the pot.

In short, Hamilton just isn’t worth it anymore. If he was truly trying to become the leader the Rangers need him to be, then this debate would be pointless. However, he’s not and that’s hurting the team. If he’s not dealt, Texas fans can kiss a third straight World Series trip goodbye.

Jeric Griffin is the Director of Content for Follow Jeric on Twitter @JericGriffin or “Like” Jeric on Facebook



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  • Charles Johnson

    Sports writers these days are half retarded these days. Lets take a look back shall we, Mickey Mantle caused more problems with the Yankees with his drinking then Josh Hamilton ever has. And you guys continue to use the Barry Bonds record as a Milestone, when everyone knows that records is bogus. If the Yankees didn’t stand behind Mantle during his rough patches we would all say Mickey who? Josh Hamilton is one of the greatest ball players to ever step on to the diamond, and the greatest thing of all his he does it steroid free. Which is monumental since lately the biggest stars of yesterday have all been found to have used during the day. Jose Canseco, Roger Clemens and Barry Bonds. What would you rather have a ball player who has over come tremendous obstacles to achieve his status as a MLB player, or a player that after they leave becomes stripped of his greatest because of his steroid use? You sports writers have forgotten the magic that is created on a ball field from that one player that changes the game. The Mantles, The Ruths, The Maris’s and The Gehrigs, all accomplished that. And in an era that the contracts has become more important then the game, and every ball player that has a great season becomes suspect of steroids,(Ryan Braun). Josh Hamilton transcends what baseball has become and takes us back to what it used to be, a game, a place where everyday lives our left outside the stadium and magic can happen, when number 3,4,5,7,9,44 and now when number 32 to steps to plate.

  • sportsbaron1

    I may be one of the few people NOT wearing rose-tinted glasses who agrees with you about trading Hamilton, Jeric–but I’d say the exact same things about Nelson Cruz–who’s either the biggest underachiever on their roster or else (one of) the most over-rated players in the league. I’ve long contended that Nelson Cruz has Orlando Cepeda-like ability. But while it’s true that he can carry the Rangers for 10 games at a time when he gets hot, it’s just as true that he disappears for weeks at a time striking out against mediocre pitching and swinging at balls Vladimir Guerrero couldn’t hit. Then he takes weeks to figure out what’s wrong, does an about-face and hits a couple of 480 foot homers which shut his critics up just long enough to take him off the spit list for awhile. But this guy, suddenly, isn’t that young anymore. And, like Alphonso Soriano in Chicago, I think this is as good as it’s going to get for Nelson Cruz. I say if you don’t have the onions to part with Hamilton, then part with Cruz or KINSLER–another underachiever as far as I’m concerned–in exchange for starting pitchers and a young hitting prospect or two. The Rangers aren’t going to the Fall Classic anyway this year–not the way Trout and Trumbo have transformed the Angels’ lineup–and definitely not now that Anaheim just added Zack Greinke to a starting staff that was pretty good to begin with–better than the Rangers’ at any rate. Add to all of the foregoing the apparent fact that Texas plays like a team that’s either grown complacent or else has tuned out their coach Ron Washington–who I’ve never been a big fan of as a tactician since he first hired on. Accordingly, I wouldn’t lose any sleep if he was replaced either.

    All right. It’s time I brought the gavel down on this rant for now.

    Questions? Comments??

    Santa Monica, California

  • sportsbaron1

    “Soto has been struggling lately, batting only .199 with six homers and 14 RBI through 52 games played this season. The move will offer Texas flexibility with Mike Napoli…”

    Soto’s been struggling LATELY???!! THAT’S A JOKE. Soto’s been struggling for almost three years now. In the space of four seasons he’s gone from rookie of the year to bum of the decade. At the plate he’s l-o-s-t with a capital LOST. How does this move provide insurance if Napoli —who’s reverted to his more familiar form this year– isn’t re-signed next year?? BOTH of these catchers stink offensively–Napoli all season long and Soto, sadly, for nearly three years. The Rangers’ best bet would be to bring up their best hitting prospects NOW, get them used to major league pitching, and give the club the spark it’s so obviously missing. If their top prospects (like Profar and Olt, who I’d play in left field if only to end that stupid merry-go-round RW insists on with Murphy and Gentry, et al) don’t turn out to be as good as advertised, then at least Jon Daniels will have a clearer idea about what he needs to do in the off season to make his team World-Series worthy in 2013 and beyond…

    Santa Monica

  • CTW

    Dude. Your an idiot.