Josh Hamilton is back with the Texas Rangers after two troublesome years with the Los Angeles Angels and less than halfway into his big free-agent deal.
After two troublesome years with the Los Angeles Angels and less than halfway through a $125 million, five-year contract, Hamilton was traded to AL West rival Texas with cash on Monday for a player to be named or cash.
Hamilton returns to the team he helped reach consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and ’11. Hamilton was the 2010 AL MVP and an All-Star each of his five seasons with Texas (2008-12).
“Over the course of the last few weeks, it became clear that Josh wanted to return to Texas,” Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said in a statement. “After several discussions with the Rangers, we were able to complete a trade that in the end is the right decision for everyone involved.”
Los Angeles is expected to pay most of the remaining $80.2 million Hamilton was owed: $20,234,973 this year and $30 million in each of the final two seasons. As part of the trade, Hamilton agreed to give up some of the money he was due under the contract, a person familiar with the trade said. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because that was not announced.
Hamilton, on the 15-day disabled list recovering from offseason right shoulder surgery, is expected to report this week to the Rangers’ complex in Surprise, Arizona. He is still a few weeks away from playing for Texas.
The deal, which had to be approved by Major League Baseball and the players’ association, came more than two weeks after Angels owner Arte Moreno strongly indicated that Hamilton would never play again for Los Angeles.
Hamilton never reported to the Angels this season after surgery in early February and his self-reported relapse into alcohol and cocaine use. Arbitrator Roberta Golick ruled MLB could not discipline Hamilton.
In his first stint with Texas, Hamilton hit .305 with 152 homers and 506 RBIs in 647 games. He led the majors with a .359 batting average in 2010, the season he was also the MVP of the AL Championship Series.
But he never came close to duplicating that during his time with the Angels.
In 220 games the past two seasons in Los Angeles, Hamilton had 31 homers and 123 RBIs. He was limited to 89 games because of injuries last year, which ended with him going hitless in 13 at-bats as the Angels were swept in three games by Kansas City in the AL Division Series.
Hamilton, who turns 34 on May 21, always felt comfortable with the Rangers, a team prepared for and experienced in dealing with his unique situation.
Hamilton’s major league debut came with Cincinnati when he had 19 homers and 47 RBIs in 2007, before being traded to Texas. That was eight years after he was the No. 1 overall pick out of Athens Drive High School in Raleigh by Tampa Bay and before falling into cocaine and alcohol addictions in the minors that derailed his career.
He acknowledged a relapse in early 2009 after he was photographed getting drunk in a bar in Arizona. He held a news conference in 2012 to apologize for another night of drinking.
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