Philadelphia, PA – On the surface, the Texas Rangers appear to be disappointed with the fact that they were unable to keep one of their most talented players in Josh Hamilton.
Deep down, the Rangers may be glad that another club came through with a better offer.
Texas was truly in a tight spot. On one hand, the Rangers risked losing a power bat that hit 142 home runs and drove in 506 runs in 647 games over five seasons, all while hitting over .300 and winning an MVP award.
On the other side of the coin, here was a 31-year-old whose past demons are well documented and is showing signs of breaking down. Arm, rib and knee injuries have popped up and the beating Hamilton's body has taken over his lifetime is sure to come into play during the length of the five-year, $125 million deal he ultimately signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.
Let's be honest, any human being with a pulse is rooting for Hamilton, a proud symbol of recovery and living proof that addiction can be controlled.
But as we are reminded during contract talks, roster moves and labor negotiations, baseball, like all sports, is a business.
Had Texas ponied up for Hamilton, potential injuries and off-the-field concerns could have impacted at any time a core that has a nice mix of talent in their prime and young, budding prospects.
Texas found a way to overcome the loss of starter C.J. Wilson (also to the Angels) last offseason and is anybody really down on a lineup that still features Adrian Beltre, Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Nelson Cruz?
There probably isn't much that the Rangers can do now to make the quote/unquote splash that everybody looks for, but that is okay for general manager Jon Daniels.
"What I am not looking to manage is the excitement for our club. We're going to be good. Our team is going to be good," said Daniels.
With or without Hamilton, Texas was going to be good, How good remains to be seen and there is no doubt that adding Hamilton to a lineup with Albert Pujols and Mike Trout once again makes Los Angeles the top contender in the AL West.
But how did that work out for the club last season?
Daniels is trying to work the crowd in the event that Hamilton has another monster year in his first season with the Angels. He said he thought the relationship that Hamilton had built with the Rangers would have given the club a chance to retain his services after he talked with other clubs.
Hamilton disagreed at his introductory press conference with the Angels last Saturday, saying he gave the Rangers the first shot at keeping him, not the last.
"I think it's a blessing in disguise, but I gave them everything I had for five years. So I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't bother me a little bit that they didn't put the press on," Hamilton said.
Hamilton's words while wearing his Angels uniform for the first time made it sound like the Rangers never really wanted to commit to the former All-Star, didn't desire to take more risk in a relationship that could blow up at any moment.
And it wasn't just him. During the press conference, Hamilton's wife Katie compared the courting process to dating.
"We were with (the Rangers) for five years and if you're going to date somebody and that's going to be your man or your woman, then you make it official and make it known pretty quick or at some point that you want to be with them.
"So, the fact they let us date other teams and Josh had said he would give them the first chance and they didn't take him up on that."
"She said, you should have put a ring on it," added Hamilton.
Hamilton was surrounded by a large gathering, including his wife and four daughters, Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto and owner Arte Moreno.
That's something that the Angels better get used to. For better or worse, Hamilton needs his support group and it is those kind of things that prevented teams from investing in the talented outfielder for a large number of years.
Hamilton himself acknowledged the aid he needs, beginning with God and his family.
"I have past history with making mistakes, drugs and alcohol. I've drank twice in seven years, which is not good for me," said Hamilton.
The risk is there, but the Angels still decided to invest. Now they need to protect their newest asset.
"They're going to help me with my support system as well, put things in place like what I had with the Rangers. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing straining to the organization or clubhouse," noted Hamilton.
"(I'm) excited to be with people who want me to be here."
The Rangers could in fact be some of those people.