BY SPNW Staff 12:40PM 12/13/2012

Short Fences No Help, Hamilton Inks With Angels

The Mariners’ attempts to boost their offense suffered a blow Thursday when free agent Josh Hamilton cast his lot with the Angels. But Nick Swisher is still out there.

Josh Hamilton spurned the Rangers — and Mariners — and signed with the Los Angeles Angels for $125 million over five years. / Wiki Commons

Marquee free agent Josh Hamilton, courted by the Mariners,  signed Thursday with the Los Angeles Angels for a deal worth $125 million over five years. Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP and the top free agent hitter available, had been expected to re-sign with the Texas Rangers after they lost out on pitcher Zach Greinke.

Hamilton’s jump to to the Angels, who spent big last off-season to add Albert Pujols ($240 million) and pitcher C.J. Wilson ($77.5 million), was confirmed by Texas GM Jon Daniels, who expressed disappointment over Hamilton’s defection.

“I thought we had additional conversations this week and that had moved it along in a positive direction,” Daniels said. “Apparently not. It’s business and everybody has to make their own calls, and he has a family to look out for. I get it.

“Josh has done a lot for the organization. The organization has done a lot for Josh — a lot of things that aren’t public and things of that nature. I’m a little disappointed in how it was handled, but he had a decision to make and he made it.”

Daniels expressed frustration over the fact that Hamilton did not give the Rangers an opportunity to match the Angels’ offer. Hamilton had stated numerous times the Rangers would receive that chance, but apparently not.

Hamilton, whose representatives discussed a deal with the Mariners at the winter meetings last week in Nashville, batted .304 in his big-league career, all but 90 games of it in Texas. He has provided big power in the middle of the Rangers’ lineup, helping the team to World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.

Hamilton batted .285 with 43 homers and 128 RBIs in an inconsistent 2012 season that didn’t finish well. A vision problem caused him to miss five games near the end of the year, he struggled offensively and committed a costly error in the AL West-deciding loss to Oakland.

The Mariners, who are attempting to add a a big bat or two to their anemic offense (last in runs scored for four consecutive seasons) and are bringing in the fences at Safeco Field. The club also has interest in Nick Swisher, the best available remaining hitter in free agency who played last season for the Yankees. Swisher hit 20 or more home runs for eight consecutive seasons.

The Cleveland Indians and Boston Red Sox are also after Swisher, especially Cleveland after it lost former Mariners outfielder Shin-Soo Choo.


  • Matt712

    Sigh…. It’s beginning to look more and more like we’re just going to have to root for this plucky young team we’ve got for the next couple of seasons and hope like hell they’ll mature into consistent productive major leaguers until the TV contract expires …while hoping like hell the media bubble doesn’t burst first.

  • Effzee

    More lip service from the M’s. Same as it ever was. Not that I thought he would have been a a great signing, but it would have at least been a big one. They always go into the off-season talking a big game to placate the dwindling fan-base, and they always come out of the off-season having been outbid (read: outclassed) by teams that, as Magic Johnson would say, “Want to win.” I firmly believe the M’s never had any intention of signing Hamilton. I firmly believe that they didn’t move in the fences in order to “Go get a bat.” I firmly believe that they are going in with the expectation/blind hope that moving in the fences will help the mediocre major league talent that they have suddenly and magically flourish. I’ll go on believing that until they prove me wrong. The track-record of inattention, inaction and ineptitude is just too established for me (or anyone with an attention span longer than a gnat’s) to believe anything else. Come on M’s. Prove me wrong. Go get a currently relevant major league bat for the first time in a decade. I double dog dare you.

  • Tim

    I’m with Art in that I don’t think Hamilton with his baggage is what we need…however, with the track record of the M’s management, I’m not holding my breath that they’ll do anything relevant. We’re the laughingstock of baseball and the pattern of doing nothing in the offseason continues. At least we have the Seahawks to cheer about.

    • steverudman

      Maybe Hamilton with his baggage is not what the Mariners need. But they certainly need something — a lot of things. Thanks for the comments.

  • Will

    Any day now I expect Mariner management to ask for a new publically funded ball park in order to draw big name players to Seattle.

  • Andy

    Someone needs to get intouch with Mark Cuban and tell him to buy the team. These currents owners and managers are a bunch of a@#holes. I just pray that Houston is more productive and can finish aheads of the Mariners next year.

  • Moose

    Short Fences No Help? Au contraire, mon ami! The short fences will be plenty of help to the endless parade of Triple-A recruits we’re going to see next year.
    Btw, I hear there will be two new delicacies available at the soon-to-be-renamed-later Hit It Somewhere Else Cafe: The Four-Season-Long Zduriencik Dog and the Pig In A Poke Salad.