I feel badly for Texas Rangers fans. First they lose Mike Napoli to Boston, and now not only do they lose Josh Hamilton but they lose him to a division rival. The interesting thing to me about Hamilton going to the LA Angels is that the franchise is appearing to continue the spending spree it started last season when they signed Albert Pujols and later traded for Zack Greinke. However that spending spree didn’t equal a playoff appearance last season. Is Hamilton the guy that can lead them to the playoffs? He might be, however with Hamilton comes his numerous off the field problems; I have to wonder if LA is the right place for a guy that has substance abuse issues as such (and I say that with all due respect).
Many Baltimore Orioles fans or skeptics are probably seeing the act of the team not going after Hamilton as evidence that they aren’t looking to spend money this off season. As I said yesterday, the team that wins is going to be the one that spends money wisely, not the one that just spends. Hamilton is a great player and he got a great deal. However looking at the Orioles, did they really have a spot for him on their roster as it’s construed now? People again will argue that you would do what you had to do in order to make space on your roster for a hitter of his caliber. However again…would the Orioles want to risk disturbing the chemistry that existed in 2012? In no way am I saying that Hamilton is a bad clubhouse guy or anything along those lines. In fact I feel quite the contrary from everything I’ve heard him say. But the mix of guys really seemed to gel in 2012…that’s just a fact.
Roch Kubatko of masnsports.com raised the possibility that either Mark Trumbo or Kendry Morales could now be on the move with Hamilton signed. Speaking for myself, if I were Dan Duquette I’d be on the phone today asking about either one of them. The key is that they can both play first base, and that happens to be a position at which the Orioles have a glaring need right now. (Kubatko also brings up the name of Nick Swisher again, but I think that Orioles fans would just as soon as forget that idea. He does say that some other franchise will probably overpay Swisher, the prospect of which probably has him grinning from “ear to ear.”) Morales is a better hitter (.290 vs. Trumbo’s .268 in 2012), but Trumbo is younger and thus has more possible upside. Trumbo is also not eligible for arbitration until 2014, and he’s under team control until 2017.
Obviously if one of these two is on the move anywhere, the question is what would the Angels ask in return? I would bet that since they lost Zach Greinke to the cross-town Dodgers they’d probably be looking for pitching, and that’s something that the Orioles can and appear willing to provide. Whether they would be willing to accept the likes of a Jake Arrieta and Zach Britton (or something along those lines) without the Orioles including a prospect in there is another story. We don’t even know for sure that Trumbo and/or Morales is in play. This is all speculation. However we’ve been saying since the beginning of the off season that the Orioles would probably be more of a force on the trade market than free agency; this looks to possibly be their first real chance.