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05/03/2013

Adrian Beltre knows the Josh Hamilton/Mike Napoli feeling

Napoli5555.rARLINGTON, Texas - In the span of about one month a pair of former beloved Texas Rangers have returned to town with completely opposite circumstances.

Josh Hamilton returned as a member of the Los Angeles Angels, Rangers fans let him have it. Who cares what he ever did for the team? 

When Mike Napoli returns tonight as a member of the Boston Red Sox, Rangers fans will cheer him. Who cares if his production was nowhere what Josh did?

These two are a case study of how to leave your former team, city, and the weight of expectations generated by money. 

Josh had never really done this before, and as a result he completely screwed it up. Yes, he had been traded by the Reds to the Rangers but that was before he blew up. As to be expected, he is bombing so far with the Angels after he signed a five-year, $125 million deal. Hamilton is batting .216 with 2 homers and 19 RBI.

Napoli had been dealt before, and had an idea what to do. He sent out a nice Twitter message to the Rangers fans on his way to Boston. He is batting .283 with 15 doubles, 6 home runs and 15 RBI in Boston.

This happens all the time in free agency and player movement. The guy who goes to the new team with the massive contract struggles in the first year. 

Adrian+Beltre+Boston+Red+Sox+v+Seattle+Mariners+248sRyK_nLVl"It happened to me in Seattle," Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre told me. 

In 2004, Beltre batted .334 with 48 home runs with 121 RBI for the L.A. Dodgers.

He signed with the Mariners that offseason for five years at $64 million. In his first year in Seattle, he hit .255 with 19 home runs and 87 RBI.

"I was trying to prove I was worth that contract all the time," Beltre said.

In his next three seasons he posted solid power numbers, averaging around 22 home runs and 80 RBI. His last season in Seattle he was limited to just 111 games and  hit 8 home runs.

He signed with Boston for the '10 season, where he batted .321 with 49 doubles, 28 home runs and 102 RBI.

"I had been through it before and I knew what to expect," Beltre said. "It's never easy."

He came to the Rangers in 2011 for a six-year, $96 million deal. He has averaged over .300, 33 doubles, 34 home runs and 103 RBI in his first two full years.

He knew how to do it.

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