The race in the American League West is now down to two teams. The fact that one of them isn't the Los Angeles Angels should make everyone in that franchise fireable up to and including the hot dog vendors. Let's just start with an owner who never learned it's not about how much you spend but where you allocate your money.
The Angels are 33-43, 11 games behind the Rangers and in fourth place in the division. That's right - they are behind the Seattle Mariners.
This is not all on former Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, but his presence is merely a symptom of the cash-induced comfort run amok in Anaheim.
Hamilton has simply been awful with his new club since he signed that five-year, $125 million deal in the offseason. That's not true. He's been worse than awful because the club needs him so much. In 73 games here is what he's done: .207 batting average, 10 home runs, 25 RBI, 76 strikeouts. An on base percentage of .262.
In a 3-2 loss against the Seattle Mariners on June 18, he was 0-for-5 having grounded into double plays in each of his first three at bats, and then striking out in his final two. He stranded seven base runners. That is really hard to be that bad in a week, let alone a single game.
Here is the problem - Josh Hamilton does not like to play baseball. He plays baseball because he's good at it, and it pays well. I believe he loves the lifestyle baseball affords him, and it certainly beats working, but the expectation his talent commands has made the game not much fun.
Josh has likely been the best baseball player on whatever field he played since he was 5. The game comes so naturally to him that it is easy in a way not common even to most major league players. You can't say he is lazy - he is always in good shape.
After having a long sit down chat with him last year for about 30 minutes it hit me that this is simply a simple guy who would likely just as soon play in a rec' league softball game with his buddies than sweat carrying the load of an entire team on his bat.
He will play baseball because it beats working at the local auto plant, and because it's what he has known forever, but once the expectations got crazy is when Josh began to slowly fade.
The problem is when your boss pays you $25 million a year to play a game you so clearly excel he expects certain things, and he likely doesn't care whether Josh likes it or not.
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