To Josh or Not to Josh, that is the question.
Earlier this year I blogged about Josh Hamilton’s pursuit of the Triple Crown. Well, we did have a Triple Crown winner this year but it sure wasn’t Josh Hamilton. JHam is certainly a mystery. He batted .395 the first couple of months of the season. On May 8th he went 5 for 5 against the Orioles knocking in 8 RBI with 4 home runs to go along with it. This is also a contract year for Josh making it even more interesting. As a life long Ranger fan trying to defend our 2 year AL crown you love to see this kinda production out of your biggest bat. Like I said Josh is certainly a mystery and that is exactly what happened next. He batted .223 for the month of June and .161 in July. Skipper Ron Washington gave him the day off July 29th and Josh did respond well. He finished the year at .285 with 43 HR and 128 RBI over 148 games. The 2nd most he has played in as a Ranger. It’s hard to believe that a player of his caliber could slump that long and that bad. One of the reasons that he gave for his slump is that “God” was punishing him for being disobedient. This is because JHam decided to quit tobacco in June and was struggling with it. It’s a tough habit to break ( I know!), especially in the middle of the season. Josh is very religious and his failure to quit led him to believe his slump was a direct punishment from God. You can draw your own conclusions from that but regardless management was not happy with his decision to quit cold turkey in the middle of season. Team President Nolan Ryan was very vocal about this. There are other issues as well, distractions from a movie deal with Casey Afleck, falling off the wagon in the off season, having a press conference about it to say that he fell off the wagon and that alcohol is evil, his sport drink addition to the point he had to be pulled out of the lineup b/c he couldn’t focus to see the ball, poor effort in the field and the plate. Just stuff, I could go on.
Josh explaining his “fall off the wagon at a Dallas bar”.
Josh dropping a ball in a critical Oct. 3rd game against Oakland where we could have wrapped up the division.
The Rangers have chosen “not to Josh”. Sure, they made a 1 year qualifying offer so we will qualify for a compensation pick but that is it. They have not begun to negotiate and already said they won’t go more than 3 years. Who knows what the market will bring for JHam. I am not saying he is a bad guy but drama definitely follows him for whatever reason. Yes, it does become a distraction to a point. Josh will undoubtedly get big years and big dollars on the market. Saying we will give 3 years is basically saying you don’t want to play. As good as the highs are with Josh, the lows can be very low. In 2013 his drama will not be occurring in a Rangers uniform and I am OK with that.