Photo courtesy of Yahoo Sports
The best player on the free agent market is a free agent no longer. Josh Hamilton has decided to leave the comfort zone that was the Texas Rangers and join Albert Pujols and phenom Mike Trout in Los Angeles as a member of the Angels.
That’s right, the same team that surprised the baseball world with the signing of Albert Pulols (10-year, $254 million) and pitcher C.J. Wilson (5-year $77 million) during last years Winter Meetings has signed the embattled superstar slugger to a 5-year deal worth $125 million, according to sources. Yahoo’s Tim Brown first reported that the sides were nearing a (on Twitter). Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports was the first to report the signing. (on Twitter). According to Yahoo’s Tim Brown, the Angels are hoping to have Hamilton’s physical completed by (on Twitter).
The general consensus throughout the offseason was that Hamilton would shop around but ultimately re-up with the Rangers. In fact, it was reported that Hamilton would give the Rangers a chance to match any offer he received from other teams before deciding to accept. Well, after Hamilton signed with the Angels reports surfaced that Rangers officials – specifically GM Jon Daniels – is not pleased with the way the negotiations ended, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports (on Twitter). The GM did not get a call to match Los Angeles’ offer, as expected. Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports that the Rangers had been willing to offer four years to retain (Twitter link).
The signings of Pujols and Wilson last year combined with the addition of Hamilton will push the Angels’ payroll to the $165 million. It would represent a franchise record, but would not push the team past baseball’s luxury tax.
Josh Hamilton blasts two-run home run, one of his four on the night vs. Baltimore Orioles during Tuesday's 10-3 victory. (MITCHELL LAYTON/GETTY IMAGES)
Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton joined some historical company on Tuesday night when he became just the 16th player in history to hit four home runs in one game. It excited Rangers players, fans, coaches and executives alike, but that enthusiasm quickly turned to concern for the latter of that list. A free agent-to-be at the end of the 2012 season and with a huge payday likely looming, Hamilton just made things really difficult for his team concerning his long-term status with the franchise.
Before the season began, Hamilton and the Rangers were getting very close to a long-term contract extension that would have likely kept the slugger in Texas for the remainder of his career. However, an alcohol relapse in early February ended the negotiations and began a shorty, fiery exchange of public remarks between the player and team.
The spat concluded with Hamilton saying he would be cheaper for the Rangers to sign “right now” than later in the season or after its conclusion. He couldn’t have been more right after his historical night that propelled Texas to a 10-3 victory over the Baltimore Orioles. Hamilton was very humble following the performance, but that doesn’t change how he feels about his contract situation.
“Obviously it’s, other than being in the World Series, the highlight of my big-league career,” Hamilton said. “What a blessing that was. It was just an awesome feeling to see how excited my teammates got.”
“It reminds you of when you’re in Little League and a little kid, and just the excitement and why we play the game,” Hamilton said. “Things like that. You never know what can happen. It was just an absolute blessing.”
Oh, so now it’s all about having fun again? If his comments were sincere, this would be the Josh Hamilton that Rangers fans have been dying to see since he was crowned AL MVP in 2010. Even through the 2011 World Series Hamilton was a hard-working, God-fearing, head-first-sliding slugger that was the backbone of this Texas team. It seemed like the relapse changed that; it made him arrogant and disloyal to the team.
Maybe this incredible performance truly did make Hamilton feel blessed and maybe his teammates’ excitement really did give him sheer joy. The Rangers better hope so because Hamilton’s free agent price just sky-rocketed as he predicted it would at the time of the relapse.
The real dilemma here is the fact Hamilton isn’t involved in the contract negotiations at all; his agent, Mike Moye, is in completely and totally in charge of that. In fact, Hamilton didn’t even know Moye had met with the Rangers brass in early April, the first time since the relapse, until after it happened. That means Hamilton’s price not only sky-rocketed after the 4-home run night, but it’s also got a new retail premium on top.
That refers to the price of soon-to-be free agents during incredible seasons, like Hamilton’s current situation. Had he avoided the relapse and been signed to an extension in the off-season, the Rangers could have signed their slugger for a “wholesale” or “discounted” price.
Now his agent has all the leverage and unless Hamilton’s seemingly new-found admiration of his team takes over the situation, the Rangers will be hurting the contract situations of other pending free agents like Colby Lewis, David Murphy and Mike Napoli to name a few. Thus, Hamilton’s selfishness might hurt the Rangers’ team outlook in the long run if his high level of production and lack of love for the team continue.
Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, a recovering alcoholic and drug addict, had a relapse this week, according to a report from Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News.
Sources told Fraley that Hamilton drank alcohol on Monday night in an area bar, but the circumstances leading to the incident could not be determined.
The Rangers released a statement today to say they were “aware of a situation, but we don’t have further comment at this time.”
This was Hamilton’s second relapse into drinking in just over three years; he also drank to excess in a Tempe, Ariz., bar in January 2009.
Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP, is entering the final year of his contract with the Rangers. He’s due to make $13.75 million in 2012.
Prince Fielder hit 38 homers with 120 RBI last season with the Brewers. (By Jeff Curry, US Presswire)
DETROIT (AP) — Free agent first baseman Prince Fielder and the Detroit Tigers agreed Tuesday on a nine-year, $214 million contract that fills the AL Central champions’ need for a power hitter, a person familiar with the deal said.
CBS first reported the agreement.
The person told the Associated Press that the deal was subject to a physical. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the contract was not yet complete.
Detroit boldly stepped up in the Fielder sweepstakes after the recent knee injury to star Victor Martinez. A week ago, the Tigers announced that the productive designated hitter could miss the entire season after tearing his left ACL.
The Tigers won their division by 15 games before losing in the AL championship series to Texas. Adding Fielder gives the Tigers two of the game’s premier sluggers, pairing him with Miguel Cabrera.
The move also keeps Fielder’s name in the Tigers’ family. His father, Cecil, became a big league star when he returned to the majors from Japan and hit 51 home runs with Detroit in 1990. Cecil played with the Tigers into the 1996 season.
Several teams had shown interest this winter in the 27-year-old Fielder, who had spent his entire career with Milwaukee. He visited Texas, and the Washington Nationals also got involved in the discussions.
The beefy slugger hit .299 with 38 home runs and 120 RBIs last season. He is a three-time All-Star and was the MVP of last year’s event in Phoenix.
Fielder has averaged 40 homers and 113 RBIs over the past five years. He’s also been among the most durable players in the majors, appearing in at least 157 games in each of the last six seasons.
The deal is only the fourth $200 million contract in baseball history, following Alex Rodriguez’s $275 million, 10-year contract with the New York Yankees, A-Rod’s $252 million, 10-year deal with Texas and Albert Pujols’ $240 million, 10-year contract last month with the Los Angeles Angels.
Among current players, his $23.78 million average salary is behind only A-Rod ($27.5 million), Ryan Howard ($25 million), and Cliff Lee and Pujols ($24 million each).
Detroit general manager Dave Dombrowski said last week he felt finding a replacement for Martinez was a short-term problem, but he left himself some wriggle room, saying it depended who the player was.
Acquiring Fielder opens all sorts of possibilities, such as moving Cabrera to third base or having one of the two sluggers be the designated hitter.
Now that Yu Darvish’s negotiating rights have been won by the Texas Rangers, that leaves one more notable international free agent still up for grabs: Cuban outfielder Yoennis Cespedes.
According to ESPN’s Enrique Rojas, Cespedes is close to establishing residency in the Dominican Republic, the first step toward making him eligible for MLB free agency. That would make Cespedes ready to accept bids from interested teams sometime in mid-January, about a month before the start of spring training.
About a half-dozen teams are most interested in the outfielder, but with speculation centered on a $50 million price tag — in the form of a major-league deal –that number may dwindle down to the larger market clubs. The New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs, and
Florida – I mean - Miami Marlins seem to be the most aggressive suitors for Cespedes.
Cuba's Yoennis Cespedes watches his third hit of the game as he drives in his fourth run of the game iagainst Mexico during their World Baseball Classic in March 2009. (AP Photo/Denis Poroy)
Thanks to the good people at Bleacher Report, we’re able to find out more about Yoennis Cespedes who has become a YouTube sensation of sorts. Rick Weiner, a featured columnist for Bleacher Report covering the New York Yankees, does a great job breaking down the latest video featuring Cespedes.
Just over six minutes into the video, we get to see Cespedes in the field. After almost two minutes of warming up, he unleashes his throwing arm, which looks to be both strong and accurate.
Around the 13-minute mark, we see Cespedes taking batting practice. He knocks the ball all over the field, hitting two balls out of the stadium and then apparently just because he can, he drives a ball into the stands from the left side of the plate. Note, Cespedes is naturally a right-handed batter and is not known to be a switch hitter.
*A tip of the hat to Tim Dierkes over at MLB Trade Rumors for this post. This is exactly what I was planning on writing about today. Please click here for Tim’s article and to participate in the poll as to where Prince Fielder will end up playing next season and for how long.
- Jon Paul Morosi of FOX Sports writes and wonders, isn’t Fielder entitled to an Albert Pujols-like contract, as a 27-year-old coming off a monster season?
The short answer to that question is, absolutely! Fielder is, what? Four or five years younger than Pujols and is technically still in his prime.
The problem is the marketplace, however, writes Morosi. The teams with the biggest payrolls don’t appear to be fits for Fielder.
- Last week, MLBTR posted this poll about Fielder’s destination. While the Cubs led with 24% of the vote, they almost seem to be the default pick for Fielder since there is no obvious favorite.
I agree with Dierkes’ assessment. I doubt the Cubs would do an eight, nine, or ten-year deal for Fielder. I’m having trouble finding any team that would do so, assuming an average annual value around $25MM is required.
“Super Agent” Scott Boras certainly has his work cut out for him. The Prince needs a place to play next year. Not only that, but he needs to be happy. A happy Prince translates to a productive Prince. I’m of the belief that the best fit for Fielder is the Texas Rangers. Here’s why:
With C.J. Wilson gone, the Rangers now have to consider other options. Fielder fills their biggest weakness. Relative to the rest of the league, first base was the only position where they received below-average output in 2011, a .271/.331/.422 combined line from Mitch Moreland with some Michael Young and Mike Napoli mixed in. With Napoli flashing a better glove behind the plate than Angels manager Mike Scioscia ever believed, and Young being surprisingly inadequate at first base, Fielder would provide a significant upgrade at first base. Fielder’s not winning any Gold Gloves any time soon, but he should be able to handle first for a few more years before his performance begs for a move to DH.
Rangers officials said at the Winter Meetings that they don’t currently see how Fielder fits into their financial plans. Of course, things can change. But the Rangers also want to keep as much of this core group together as they can in the future. They are looking at not just 2012, but beyond. They want to increase their playoff chances for the long haul and just sticking with the core costs money.
So if Fielder wants an 8- or 10-year contract, that doesn’t seem to matchup with what the club has planned. Walking around the lobby of the Hilton Anatole last week, it was clear that scouts and officials with other teams certainly expect the Rangers to jump into the Fielder sweepstakes. But the club is trying to look big picture. If Fielder can fit into that picture, I’m sure they’ll look into it. If he doesn’t, they won’t overspend just to counter what the Angels did.
ESPN.com’s Jim Bowden listed four possible locations for free-agent Prince Fielder to eventually land. The list: Rangers, Cubs, Mariners, and Orioles. You can read that here (insider).
Right up until the moment that it became great, Game 6 of the World Series was… well, not great. Yes, it was close, but both the Cardinals and the Rangers were all over the place to the point where the game resembled nothing so much as a weirdly well-attended Little League game featuring an unusually high number of bearded participants. But sometime after the last of the game’s five errors, and several innings after St. Louis Cardinals third baseman David Freese whiffed on a pop-up that would be caught 99 times out of 100 in a hungover Sunday afternoon softball game, things got good. A little while after that, they got great. By the time Freese’s walk-off homer in the bottom of the 11th gave Joe Buck the opportunity to echo his father’s famous run call from the 1991 World Series—you know this one—one of the goofiest World Series games in recent memory had become one of the greatest.
In that way, Game 6 was a microcosm of baseball’s whole hysterical, unpredictable and relentlessly surprising end-of-season. It was also just about as much fun as any World Series game in a long time.
Last night’s game sets up a winner take all game 7 tonight at Busch Stadium tonight (8:05 EST/FOX) but after last night I’m still finding new ways to say wow.
When the St. Louis Cardinals and Texas Rangers faced off in Game 5, the weather couldn’t have been anymore perfect. Game time temperatures were in the neighborhood of 80 degrees, clear skies and low humidity. Furthermore, on Tuesday’s travel day there were sunny skies and temperatures in the mid-80s.
Tonight game 6 takes place in St. Louis where the weather is forecasted to be anything but ideal. skies are expected to turn rainy and colder by the time the two teams are scheduled to take the field for Game 6.
Forecasters are calling for anywhere between a 50% and 80% chance of rain tonight, which could in turn force Major League Baseball to make a difficult call on whether or not to even try to start the game.
It could also impact the strategy the two managers employ should the Cardinals push the Series to a seventh game.
Cardinals manager Tony La Russa says he and pitching coach Dave Duncan have “a really positive feel” about how they would use their pitching staff in a potential Game 7, but that “we need to get there first and then we can talk about it.”
If both teams stuck to their current pitching rotations, Kyle Lohse would start Thursday’s game for the Cardinals and Matt Harrison would get the call for the Rangers.
However, a rainout would push the two Game 6 starters back a day and allow for the possibility that Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, who threw 101 pitches on Monday, could be available for Game 7 on three days’ rest — either to start or pitch out of the bullpen.
Carpenter told the Dallas Morning News he would be willing to start a Game 7 if a rainout moved it to Friday.
With weather a factor, Yahoo Sports reports that officials from the Cardinals and Major League Baseball plan to meet at 2 p.m. ET to discuss postponing Game 6 early.
I would think an early postponement would help the Cardinals, who trail the Rangers 3-2 in the Series, bring back Chris Carpenter on short rest for Game 7 — which hypothetically would happen Friday with a rainout today and a St. Louis victory in Game 6.
However, no one really knows which team would benefit more from an early rainout.
(perhaps you can discuss it amongst yourselves in the comments)
Bah bah bah baaaahhhhh…dun dun dun dun…
My singing may not be as good as the Baltimore Ravens but it certainly isn’t as bad as the Jacksonville Jaguars, which is the Monday Night Football game for tonight. The Ravens travel to Jacksonville with a lot of confidence, swagger, and supposedly over 25,000 traveling Ravens fans. Many believe this will be a battle of the running backs, as it pits the Ravens all-around offensive threat, Ray Rice against the Jaguars all-around offensive threat, Maurice Jones-Drew. I predict a defensive struggle in the first half by both teams but I do see the Ravens putting up numbers in the second half and running away with a 28-10 victory in Jacksonville.
Here are my Top Three Performances from NFL Week 7:
1. QB Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints): What a mess Sunday night was for the Indianapolis Colts. Not only did their offense turn the ball over three times but their defense gave up 62 points in front of an amped up crowd at the Superdome in New Orleans. New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees could be held accountable for over half of those points, as he threw for 325 yards and five touchdowns. Brees efficiency was also a key factor, as he completed 31 of 35 passes and led the Saints to a 62-7 home victory.
2. RB Arian Foster (Houston Texans): With star wide receiver Andre Johnson out for the Houston Texans, it seemed as if the Texans once again had to find their rhythm on offense. Texans running back Arian Foster’s numbers the last few games haven’t been too impressive, especially on the ground. Against a stout Tennessee Titans defense, Foster found the rhythm that made him the league’s leading rusher in 2010. Foster totaled for 234 yards of offense, 115 on the ground, 119 through the air, and scored 3 touchdowns to lead the Texans to a 41-7 victory in Tennessee.
3. Kansas City Chiefs Secondary: Let’s be honest, we all know quarterback Kyle Boller was going to suck for the Oakland Raiders. I just didn’t expect the Raiders second half quarterback Carson Palmer to be just as bad. The Kansas City Chiefs secondary just destroyed the Raiders offense and set up the field position needed for a Kansas City 28-0 victory at Oakland. Kyle Boller and Carson Palmer each threw three interceptions, six overall, with two interceptions returned for touchdowns by Chiefs players Kendrick Lewis and Brandon Flowers.
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols’ legendary performance on Saturday night in Texas definitely earned him a place amongst the baseball greats. Pujols hit three home runs and six RBI’s in a 16-7 Cards Game 3 victory over the Rangers, making him only the third player in Major League history to hit three home runs in a World Series game. The other two guys? Oh, only two Hall of Famers named Reggie Jackson and Babe Ruth. Although we can’t put it in the bag for St. Louis just yet, as the Rangers evened the World Series at 2 games a piece after a 4-0 Game 4 victory in Texas.
It has been an impressive run for the Washington Capitals in the early part of the 2011-12 NHL season. The Caps hold a comfortable 7-0 record in the Southeast Conference, the best start in their franchise’s history. But the most impressive statistic of all is that their leading scorer is not the team’s leader and all-star, Alexander Ovechkin. Ovechkin has scored three goals in the first seven games but he is down one goal to fellow teammates Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera, who each have four. The Caps are enjoying a well deserved break until Thursday night, when they face the Edmonton Oilers on the road.
Here are my rants for the weekend in college football:
I’ve been very impressed with #1 LSU and their showing against #20 Auburn which resulted in a 45-10 victory, yet I still believe that when LSU goes to the SEC title game, they will suffer their first loss and get knocked out of the BCS title picture.
#16 Michigan State is looking like a legit threat in the Big Ten following their 37-31 victory over then #6 Wisconsin, I do see this team in the Big Ten title game either in a rematch against Wisconsin (#15) or Michigan (#18).
Everything is falling into place for #6 Stanford and their quarterback Andrew Luck. Stanford going to the BCS title game and Luck winning the Heisman trophy are looking like two accurate possibilities at this point.
Thank you for reading my blog this week! Hopefully the Ravens win big tonight and the Caps continue on their impressive winning streak. Feel free to check me out on Facebook (Joshua Collins Hall) or e-mail me at email@example.com for any information regarding my blog and future projects. Enjoy your Monday night, I am out.
Josh Hamilton will miss the next six to eight weeks because of an injured shoulder.
Hamilton tried to score a run in the first inning on a pop out in foul territory, just in front of the Tigers dugout. Hamilton said that third base coach Dave Anderson sent him home after seeing that none of the Tigers were covering home plate. Hamilton slid head first to avoid the tag but was out on the play. Now he is on the disabled list with a non-displaced fracture to his right arm, just below the shoulder.
After the game, Hamilton had his right arm in a shoulder sling.
Texas' Josh Hamilton is tagged out at home by Detroit C Victor Martinez as he tries to score on a foul pop fly out in the first inning during the Texas Rangers vs. the Detroit Tigers major league baseball game at Comerica Park in Detroit on Tuesday, April 12, 2011, won by Detroit 5-4.
Hamilton told reporters after the game: “I listened to my third base coach. That’s a little too aggressive. The whole time I was watching the play I was listening. [He said], ‘Nobody’s at home, nobody’s at home.’ I was like, ‘Dude, I don’t want to do this. Something’s going to happen.’ But I listened to my coach. And how do you avoid a tag the best? By going in head first and get out of the way and get in there. That’s what I did.”
The Rangers will call up Chris Davis to replace Hamilton on the roster. Texas lost for only the second time this season, 5-4.