Remember Josh Hamilton? The comeback story that captured our hearts with his amazing performance in the Home Run Derby at new Yankees Stadium.
The guy who was one of the league's best players for the Texas Rangers.
The guys who had gone was baseball's most proficient prospect to one of its most notorious failures and drug addicts and then because one ts best players again.
Well, that player is gone. And, last week, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim coach Mike Scioscia admitted as much.
“Josh is not the same that we saw when we were looking at the other dugout,” Scioscia told the Dallas Morning News and other reporters during the Angels' road series at Texas. “He’s not in the batter’s box with the confidence we know he has. He’s not attacking the ball like he can. He’s working hard to try to find it …but we need him to do what he’s capable of doing, or close to that.”
How bad is it?
It's pretty bad. He's hitting .266 with eight homers. In August, he's hitting .189 through 14 games. All of this came after he started the season in dominant fashion before breaking his thumb sliding into a bag.
"I haven't been disappointed," Angels hitting coach Don Baylor told MLB.com recently, "it's just taken a lot longer for him to find that stroke again."
During his contract year with Texas in 2012, he hit 43 homers with a .285 average with 128 RBIs. During his first season in Texas, 2008, he hit .304 and had 32 homers to go with 130 RBIs.
Last year in L.A., he hit 21 homers with a .250 average and 79 RBIs with 14 more at-bats than his final season in Texas.
Huge contract numbers
The key numbers for Hamilton and his new contract are five years and $125 million. That's why he left Texas, promising to do big things for charity with that money.
That's also the problem for the Angels, who keep him in the cleanup spot despite those struggles.
They've gone on for awhile now, starting when his contract began. But he hasn't hidden from them either.
“I can't predict the freaking future,” Hamilton told the L.A. Times last June when he was holding a .216 average. “Do you want me to go say I suck and sit in my locker?”
This year, oddly enough, he has a .216 average since the All-Star Game.
The thing about baseball, however, is that the contracts are guaranteed. He will get that money, unless he retires. And the Angels will regret every moment of it.
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