Josh Hamilton leaves Texas without giving Rangers chance to match Angels’ offer

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Josh Hamilton is leaving the Rangers to sign a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels and it’s interesting to hear how Texas got the news.

First of all, Hamilton’s agent called Rangers general manager Jon Daniels during this afternoon’s media luncheon to tell him the former MVP was going to their AL West rivals.

According to Daniels the Rangers were not given an opportunity to match the offer and Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star Telegram characterizes the GM as “not pleased with how negotiations ended.”

On the other hand it apparently doesn’t come as a total shock to Daniels, who admitted that Hamilton hinted last week he perhaps wanted a new start somewhere else.

And of course it’s not even clear if the Rangers were interested in topping the Angels’ offer, which is pretty damn huge for a soon-to-be 32-year-old with plenty of question marks attached on and off the field.

Hamilton’s departure obviously leaves a big hole in the Rangers’ lineup, which was already righty dominant with Hamilton. It’ll be interesting to see if they make a run at switch-hitting Nick Swisher, who seems like the most natural fit to replace Hamilton among the unsigned free agents.

Rakuten Golden Eagles sign Jabari Blash

Jabari Blash
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.

The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.

The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.