Just because the ink is dry on Josh Hamilton‘s new contract with the Los Angeles Angels, doesn’t mean there still aren’t questions about the signing. While it’s obviously a very exciting signing for the Halos, and one that probably makes them favorites in the American League West, five years for Josh Hamilton is still a risky move, for multiple reasons.
The question for the Angels is whether or not that risk is going to be worth it.
When discussing Josh Hamilton, the top concern that is always raised relates directly to his obvious off-the-field issues. Regardless of how long Hamilton stays clean and shows what a model citizen he is, that history is going to follow him for the remainder of his career. But while the Angels will likely keep a close eye on him, just as the Texas Rangers did, his history away from the diamond isn’t the large part of what makes the move so risky.
The first is Hamilton’s health, or lack thereof. Since appearing in 156 games in 2008, Hamilton has only appeared in more than 135 just once. So five years for a 31-year-old with an injury history is questionable. But also consider the fact that even in that limited time, Hamilton is still putting up numbers many players could only dream of posting in a 162-game season.
There’s also the matter of the strikeouts. Hamilton strikes out a lot. In fact, it’s a number that has been growing over the past couple of seasons. He struck out 162 times in those 148 games last season. He made contact just 65 percent of the time, which was a career low for him. Which makes his numbers across the board actually even more impressive.
The risks are clearly there and don’t require much more explanation. Hamilton is brittle and he strikes out a lot. But when you’re talking about a guy who can pop about 40 home runs and drive in 120, then the risk is absolutely unquestionable.
Hamilton’s health and strikeout concerns should make Angel fans a bit wary of him, but do they indicate any sort of impending plummet from him anytime soon? Probably not. Though his declining contact rate is somewhat concerning, we essentially know what we’re going to get out of Josh Hamilton at this point: huge offensive numbers, quite a few K’s, and some missed games.
But in the end, it will all be worth it for the Los Angeles Angels.