Josh Hamilton

Arte Moreno

Arte Moreno won’t say if Josh Hamilton will play again for the Angels


An arbitrator recently ruled that Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton would not be punished for a drug relapse. That decision didn’t sit well with the Angels’ brass, as GM Jerry DiPoto released a rather curious statement critical of Hamilton.

The drama continues. When asked if he can say Hamilton will play again for the Angels, owner Arte Moreno responded, “I will not say that,” Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times reports. Moreno says the Angels have language in Hamilton’s contract regarding a drug relapse and the club may try to enforce it.

Hamilton, 33, is in the third year of a five-year, $125 million contract. He is owed $83 million for the 2015-17 seasons. If Hamilton had been suspended by Major League Baseball for his drug relapse, the Angels would have had relief from some of his $23 million salary for this season.

Major League Baseball will not look into the Angels’ conduct in the Josh Hamilton case

manfred getty

Someone improperly leaked confidential information regarding Josh Hamilton’s recent relapse and the subsequent investigation into it. That’s a violation of the Joint Drug Agreement and, if it can be established that a given party leaked such info, that party is subject to discipline.

The information was leaked to L.A.-based reporters, one of whom covers the Angels for a living. As I’ve argued in the past, Josh Hamilton certainly didn’t have a big reason to do it. And, after MLB’s decision not to discipline him came out, Angels officials sure were vocal with their displeasure and made a point to let the world know that they think he’s a bad guy with big problems. That doesn’t necessarily mean that the Angels did the leaking, but it’s not at all unreasonable to do the math and see that they’re the prime suspects.

But suspects are the worst they’ll ever be with respect to this business, because MLB is not going to look into the matter:

Commissioner Rob Manfred indicated that he will not investigate whether the Angels released confidential information about outfielder Josh Hamilton.

“I have no reason to believe the Angels did anything inappropriate,” Manfred said during a visit to Safeco Field for Wednesday night’s game between the Angels and Seattle Mariners . . . “Confidentiality is an important component of the drug program,” Manfred said. “Unfortunately, the more people that know about something, the less likely it is that it’s going to stay confidential.

The people who knew about this were Manfred’s own folks in the commissioner’s office, the Angels, Josh Hamilton and his agents and/or lawyers. Which is the same general universe of people who will know about any problem that arises with respect to any player under the JDA. So, in effect, it seems Manfred is saying that he’ll never, ever investigate leaks of this information because a lot of people “know about something” and, well, I guess stuff happens.

So, congratulations Major League Baseball, you just wrote out a key section of the JDA. One which runs seven full sections over seven pages in a 58-page document and which is considered to be, by its own terms, “essential to the Program’s success.” And you did it because you are unwilling to even investigate — not just punish, but even investigate — a clear violation of the JDA when it means that you may have to make a club uncomfortable.


Must-click link: Josh Hamilton has gone 3,449 for his last 3,452

josh hamilton getty

On Wednesdays I do this thing where I spend an hour on the phone doing 6-7 radio spots in various cities around the country. This morning almost every host asked me something about Josh Hamilton. And almost every one of them couched their Hamilton question to me in terms that suggest that they were dumbfounded that Josh Hamilton didn’t get the book thrown at him as a result of his recent relapse.

Most good radio hosts — and the folks with whom I do my little radio tour are good hosts — reflect general fan sentiment, so I think it’s safe to assume that the general public has the same question. They’re also shocked that Hamilton was not punished. Some, based on some comments here at HBT, view Hamilton situation as one in which he gained some lucky windfall. As if it’s some crazy desirable thing to get to be a drug addict and not be punished for it.

What I think most of these people are missing is that, for the most part, a drug addict lives in a special hell. Maybe Hamilton’s is superficially more comfortable given his wealth, but it’s a hell all the same. Over at The Classical Jeremy Horton — himself an addict — tries to describe that hell and does so in extraordinarily vivid terms. And notes that, against the backdrop of an addict’s life, what Josh Hamilton has done with himself for the past decade has been nothing short of extraordinary:

What needs to be remembered – and what the Angels organization apparently never bothered to learn in the first place – is that addiction is an extremely personal thing and that there’s no way anybody on the outside can know what is best for Hamilton right now. What also needs to be understood and stressed emphatically is, near-miraculous baseball comeback aside, what’s most impressive is that out of the last 3,452 days, he has been sober for roughly 3,449 of them . . .

. . . It is often said in baseball, if you fail seven out of 10 times, you are a success. Hamilton, in his battle with addiction, has failed three out of 3,452 times. He is an unbelievably tremendous success. And he’s an inspiration to millions of us struggling with substance abuse every day, because we understand that addiction never goes away.

Horton’s read is not an easy one. But it’s one worth reading. Especially if you’re the sort who is inclined to think Josh Hamilton somehow got away with something. Or if anything that Major League Baseball could’ve done to him could hold a candle to what he has gone through these past 3,452 days.

(thanks to Allison for the heads up)

Huston Street hired an agent for the first time since 2012 to negotiate an extension with the Angels

Huston Street Angels

Huston Street has represented himself without an agent since 2012, but since he’s still in contract extension talks with the Angels and the season has started the veteran closer has hired agent Alan Hendricks to do the negotiating.

There was some speculation that the Angels were waiting to finalize a deal with Street until they got a ruling on a potential refund for Josh Hamilton’s salary, but now that they won’t be getting any of that money back the talks with Street can continue ahead of his free agency next offseason.

Street saved 17 games with a 1.71 ERA for the Angels after coming over from the Padres in mid-July and has a 1.97 ERA in 155 innings during the past three seasons. At age 31 he’s been a high-level closer for a decade and figures to be looking for something in the same range David Robertson (four years, $46 million) got from the White Sox this winter.

Josh Hamilton’s teammates not happy with Jerry DiPoto’s statement

Jerry Dipoto

Angels outfielder Josh Hamilton received good news on Friday, learning that he would not be disciplined for a recent drug relapse. That prompted Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto to release this statement:

The Angels have serious concerns about Josh’s conduct, health and behavior and we are disappointed that he has broken an important commitment which he made to himself, his family, his teammates and our fans. We are going to do everything possible to assure he receives proper help for himself and for the well-being of his family.

As Pedro Moura of the Orange County Register reports, Hamilton’s teammates weren’t pleased with Dipoto’s comment. However, starter C.J. Wilson was the only one willing to go on record with anything resembling criticism. Wilson said Dipoto’s statement was “kind of disheartening.” He clarified, saying, “The statement had multiple phases. I’m just going to focus on the last part of it, which was, ‘We are focused on Josh and his family.’ That’s the part that I agree with.”

As Moura notes, Wilson, Hector Santiago, and Huston Street have been public supporters of Hamilton’s. Despite the lack of discipline, Hamilton still won’t join the Angels for the start of the regular season as he’s currently rehabbing his right shoulder after undergoing surgery in February.