Josh Hamilton named player of year by his peers

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The players have spoken, and according to them, Josh Hamilton is the best among them.

The Texas Rangers center fielder, who has tormented the New York Yankees with four home runs in the ALCS, has been named Sporting News’ player of the year, as selected by a panel of 326 Major League Baseball players.

Hamilton is a fine choice, hitting .359/.411/.633 with 32 home runs and 100 RBIs despite playing only 133 games this season due to injuries. He also plays a mean – and aggressive – center field, which is part of the reason for his injuries. (Stop running into walls!)

While you could make an argument for the likes of Miguel Cabrera, Carlos Gonzalez, Joey Votto and Albert Pujols, to name a few, it’s tough to gripe about Hamilton ultimately being the choice.

Also announced were the top pitchers (Felix Hernandez, Roy Halladay), rookies (Austin Jackson, Jason Heyward), managers (Ron Gardenhire, Bud Black), comeback players (Vladimir Guerrero, Tim Hudson) and relievers (Rafael Soriano, Heath Bell), as well as an All-Star team, which you can check out here.

Getting back to Hamilton, it’s nice to see the former No. 1 draft pick begin to realize his promise. While there is no need to glorify or over-dramatize the man, we can still point out the long journey he has taken to reach this point, fighting an ongoing battle with drug and alcohol addiction along the way. It must be rewarding for him to be recognized by his peers for having such a remarkable season.

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Orioles sign OF Aaron Hicks, put Cedric Mullins on 10-day IL with groin strain

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
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BALTIMORE — The Baltimore Orioles signed outfielder Aaron Hicks less than 24 hours after Cedric Mullins went down with a strained right groin.

Mullins went on the 10-day injured list, but the Orioles are hoping Hicks can help defensively in the spacious outfield at Camden Yards. Hicks was released last week by the New York Yankees with more than 2 1/2 seasons left on his contract.

“We had noticed that he was a free agent even before the injury,” Orioles general manager Mike Elias said. “When the injury occurred and it became pretty clear this was going to be an IL, it seemed like a good fit even more so at that time.”

The Orioles are responsible for paying Hicks just $483,871, a prorated share of the $720,000 minimum salary. The Yankees owe him the rest of his $10.5 million salary this year, plus $9.5 million in each of the next two seasons and a $1 million buyout of a 2026 team option.

The 33-year-old Hicks hit just .188 in 28 games for the Yankees this year.

“We have stuff that we look at from a scouting and evaluation perspective,” Elias said. “It’s very different from just looking at the back of a baseball card, and we hope that we get a bounceback from anyone we bring here.”

Hicks batted .216 last season.

“Hopefully that’s a good thing for him,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said of the Baltimore deal. “A lot of time here and a lot of good things happened for him here. I know the last couple of years have been a struggle. But hopefully it’s a good opportunity for him and certainly wish him well. Not too well being in our division and a team we’re chasing, but hopefully it’s a really good fit for him.”

Mullins left a loss to Cleveland after he pulled up while running out an infield grounder. Outfielder Colton Cowser – the fifth pick in the draft two years ago – is hitting .331 at Triple-A Norfolk, but he went on the IL in the past couple weeks.

“Certainly he was building a case towards promotion consideration prior to his injury and prior to Cedric’s injury,” Elias said. “We’ll just see where we’re at.”

Hicks was active for the game but not in the starting lineup. Austin Hays, normally Baltimore’s left field, was in Mullins’ usual spot in center.

When the wall in left at Camden Yards was pushed significantly back before last season, it made left field a bigger challenge defensively.

“In this park … you really need two center fielders,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “Aaron’s got a lot of center-field experience. Played left field here before also. Brings the defensive aspect and then the switch-hitting.”