And, it's reportedly a done deal, with the Angels eating all but $15M of his salary.
Several questions, issues, and thoughts.
1. On that "eating salary," per more information, on USA Today and a Hardball Talk commenter, reportedly this is NOT adding up to $68M + $15M. The Angels are allegedly saying that because Texas has no state income tax, Hamilton:
(I)s also expected to help offset the remaining $15 million, according to a person involved with the talks.
To me, this sounds like a violation of the collective bargaining agreement between owners and the players union.
And, it's a bogus argument anyway. Twenty-one states have laws on their books to tax the salaries of visiting athletes in road games, meaning the "tax-free state" argument is bullshit. There's more here on how accountants who specialize in working for athletes have to deal with this. Wikipedia even has a jock tax page.
But, per the latest update on the situation, with Hamilton getting an opt-out after just 2 years (like he's gonna use that), Hamilton is eating $6 million of contract money.
A lot of fans, I'll bet, don't get that the money per se isn't the issue; it's a player voluntarily undercutting a signed contract by renegotiation. See Section 2 immediately below.
And the MLBPA nixed it. The union had to approve any alteration to a player’s contract that would reduce his salary. It also had to look out for the best interests of all its members, for whom Rodriguez’s contract was a benchmark rising tide that lifted all boats. And so it said no.
Sounds simple enough.
That said, per the update, Tony and the union need to get involved on the "no tax, Josh will help us" issue.
4. Given Hamilton's latest relapse is connected to him filing for divorce, and his sobriety support network starting with his soon-to-be ex-wife and ex-father-in-law — as Christian Right/prosperity gospel wingnutty as they are, as I discussed here — what sort of structure does he have for support, or does he expect to have?
Ron Washington is no longer the manager there, after all. With his own background, even if no addiction was involved, of having used cocaine, perhaps Washington, generally known as a "players manager" in terms of clubhouse chemistry, was part of that previous support — and on-field success — too? Jeff Banister may be a decent enough guy, but he didn't manage Hamilton before.
That said, Grant notes:
The Rangers have worked through a number of scenarios, including how Hamilton would fit back into the clubhouse. It should be noted that Roy Silver, who was hired as a special assistant in player development over the winter, operated the faith-based baseball academy at which Hamilton was reintroduced to baseball in 2007.
After all, just a month ago, Silver said Hamilton should retire.
6. That said, per other fans, I don't get what's in this for the Rangers, other than a marketing deal. They're nowhere near contending this year, and many thought they'd be lucky to finish ahead of the Astros and stay out of the cellar, especially after losing Yu Darvish for the year to Tommy John surgery. Maybe they want butts in seats that badly, and the price was cheap enough, given that we have yet to hear any names of players going back to the Angels.
7. How will he do? Better than in LA, on non-park-adjusted stats, since Arlington's a launch pad and Anaheim is slightly to moderately pitcher friendly.
Adjusted stats? He'll probably do somewhat better than with the Haloes, but a fair amount worse on both adjusted and unadjusted stats than he did with the Rangers the previous go-round. And with him in left and Choo in right, Leonys Martin will have to bring his A game defensively every night.