Josh Hamilton: The good, the bad, and the ugly? His journey from superstar to villian

by Thomas Eurich | Posted on Saturday, April 11th, 2015

Stephen Dunn/Getty Images North America

When Josh Hamilton signed that mega five year, $125 million dollar deal with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, everyone thought that a lineup featuring Mike Trout, Albert Pujols, and Josh Hamilton was terrific and that the signing would propel the Angels to World Series contenders. In all, everyone was shocked and filled with excitement.

After a few years with Los Angeles, many fans could see something wrong with the slugger, as he struggled mightily during his time there, hitting .250 with 21 homers and 79 RBIs in his first year and .263 with 10 homers and 44 RBIs in his second. His performance, at least last year, could be largely due to injuries, as he only played 89 games. However, Josh Hamilton does come with some issues, mainly with drugs and alcohol, which could contribute to the problem:

Josh Hamilton, originally was drafted by the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays, and showed flashes of great potential. The only reason he never reached that potential with the Devil Rays was due to himself; basically allowing himself to be taken out of the game due to major drug and alcohol addiction. Thus, the Devil Rays could no longer wait for him to turn his life around, and did not put him on their 40 man roster, essentially unprotecting him from the Rule 5 draft. At this time, Hamilton realized his flaw and took himself away from the substance that has crippled him throughout his life.

During the Rule 5 draft, Hamilton was selected by the Chicago Cubs, who at that time had a pre-arranged deal with the Cincinnati Reds to exchange Hamilton’s rights to Cincinnati. During his time with the Reds, Hamilton did great and truly broke out, batting .292 with 19 homeruns and 47 RBIs. Due to the breakout year, multiple teams were interested in acquiring Hamilton’s services, and with his past history, the Cincinnati Reds thought that this was the right opportunity to sell high. Nobody believed in him.

The Reds did just that, sending Josh Hamilton to the Texas Rangers in exchange for Edinson Volquez, a young pitcher coming off a good season. The Rangers needed an outfielder and had a surplus of pitching; they also liked the speed of Josh Hamilton and coveted him as a center fielder. Hamilton thrived in Texas and became one of the premier center fielders in the game, leading the club to two straight World Series. His biggest highlight came from the Home Run Derby in 2008, where he hit 28 homeruns in the first round alone. Then, came free agency…

Josh Hamilton finds himself in more trouble now after coming clean and announcing he had a substance relapse, and the Angels might not keep him, due to the details in the contract they signed. It’s just a part of the game of life.Josh Hamilton’s biggest mistake wasn’t getting into drugs and alcohol in the first place. It was leaving the Texas Rangers for more money in Los Angeles.

Hamilton had a support group in Texas, which was led by general manager Jon Daniels, who held Hamilton accountable for his actions outside of baseball. In Los Angeles, he had none of that. The team put him in charge of his own life without any help from a counselor or anybody else to hold him accountable.

His biggest mistake was leaving Texas…

If the Angels really want to get rid of Josh Hamilton, they should trade him to the Texas Rangers for a player like Shin-Soo Choo, a player with another bad contract. This way, Josh Hamilton can start to regenerate his life again.

Thomas Eurich is an MLB analyst for ProSportsExtra.com (@prosportsextra/pse_mlb) You can Follow Thomas on Twitter.com @Thomas_Eurich

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