SocraticGadfly: Hamilton to Angels - time for that all-LA Freeway Series

December 13, 2012

Hamilton to Angels - time for that all-LA Freeway Series

Josh Hamilton/ESPN photo
Well, it didn't take the Los Angeles Angels very long to get over losing Zack Greinke. They just signed Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton for 5 years, $125 million.

First, the batting order? Mike Trout followed by Hamilton and Albert Pujols, in whatever order? Crap, that's a killer order. Throw in anybody else you want. Kendrys Morales had half a comeback last year, at least, from his broken leg and complications. Mark Trumbo will surely become more of a contributor. Vernon Wells just has to not be a fuck-up. Of course, he could soon be on the trade block, if he doesn't at least hit .260, depending on how much of his salary the Angels will eat. I mean, he's clearly the fourth outfielder, unless Mike Scioscia tries to move Trumbo to 3B. (That said, he did play a few games at the hot corner last year; it's a possibility they try to move him there permanently.) If Erick Aybar and other position players just "maintain," this is clearly the best offense in baseball.

And, the Angels can move Hamilton to RF, with Trout in center, to boot. This gives them hands-down the best defensive outfield around, overall, too.

Second, the deals?

Hamilton for 5/125 is, in my opinion, definitely a better deal than Greinke for 6/147. So, I think the Angels, by this deal and by stealing from within the division, are first in line for that potential freeway series.

Yes, Hamilton had issues this past year, while any issues that Greinke has had appear to be in the past. Yes, Hamilton is three years older.

Nonetheless, besides his top year, Hamilton has three other years of 3 WAR or more, including one 5-WAR year. Besides his top year, Greinke only has one other 3-WAR year. Related to that, Greinke has, really, a one-year peak; maybe a two-year, if you also count 2008. Meanwhile, throw out Hamilton's bad 2008, and every year he's played has been 2.5 WAR or better.

Finally, I think the fresh start will help. True, LA might be an issue of sorts for Hamilton, with his substance abuse history, rather than Greinke with his social anxiety, which is further in the past.

However, with Pujols there, Hamilton doesn't have to be the No. 1 bat. With Trout there as well, he doesn't even have to be the No. 2.

The Dodgers, on the other hand, signed Greinke to be their ace. Unless the trade they made with Boston last year shows dividends, spotlight's on him as leader of their pitching staff.

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