Deal done: Josh Hamilton traded to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations

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On Friday it was reported that the Angels and Rangers had agreed to a trade for Josh Hamilton. The deal is now done and the details announced: it’s for a player to be named later or cash considerations. There will be a press conference at 4:30 Eastern time, and presumably the details will be confirmed then or shortly thereafter.

As for now, T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that the Rangers will “pick up a small portion” of the remainder of Hamilton’s salary with the Angels responsible for the rest of the $83 million still owed. On Friday it was reported that the Rangers’ amount could be as low as $7 million for the remaining three years. There have also been reports that Hamilton can opt-out of his deal after the 2016 season.

Which, boy-howdy, is not a lot for a guy who could still be a good player. It basically means the Angels just gave up on the guy and gave up on their belief, however erroneous it was, that they could go after Hamilton for the money they still owed him under some sort of “bad behavior” clause in his deal. Now the Angels will be on the hook for the vast majority of the money he is owed and get nothing, it seems, in return.

Of course, given the events of the past several weeks, one suspects that Hamilton and the Angels would do just about anything to be rid of one another.

Following Hamilton’s admission of a drug relapse in late February, Major League Baseball held an arbitration in order to determine if he should be disciplined. Hamilton prevailed and faced no punishment, but the Angels were clearly dissatisfied with the results. In the wake of the ruling, multiple team officials issued public statements criticizing the arbitrator’s ruling and Hamilton’s behavior. Since then, Angels owner Arte Moreno has refused to state publicly if Hamilton would ever play for the Angels again. Hamilton’s locker was given to another player and all Hamilton merchandise had been removed from the Angels’ team store. Two weeks ago it was reported that Hamilton had placed his Orange County home up for sale.

Moreno has suggested to the press that the Angels possessed the legal right to claw back money from Hamilton pursuant to special substance abuse provisions in Hamilton’s contract and language which requires that Hamilton be in “first-class condition.” Sources familiar with the contract told NBC Sports two weeks ago, however, that no such provisions exist which would supersede the terms of the Joint Drug Agreement. The players union has likewise said that Joint Drug Agreement, which Hamilton has been found not to have violated, trumps any contract language to which Moreno may be referring. Last week Hamilton’s teammates who met with him in his Houston-area home told the Los Angeles Times that Hamilton was in excellent physical condition and eager to begin playing again.

This deal puts an end to that acrimony. And puts Josh Hamilton back in Texas, where he rose to his greatest heights as a major leaguer. In five seasons with the Rangers Hamilton hit .305/.363/.549 with 142 home runs and 506 RBI. He led the Rangers to two American League pennants and won the 2010 MVP award and batting title while likewise leading the league in OPS.

While Hamilton’s exit from Texas was a rocky one, a lot has happened since then. Hamilton, following two awful seasons and this latest drama, has been humbled. The Rangers are no longer a winning team. A reunion may not make the most baseball sense, but a commitment of only $7 million for a potential impact bat is not that much, and the reunion may not be the worst thing for a club and a player each of which could use something of a fresh start.

Brewers have 3 positive COVID tests at alternate site

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
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MILWAUKEE — The Brewers had two players and a staff member test positive for the coronavirus at their alternate training site in Appleton, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee president of baseball operations David Stearns confirmed the positive results Saturday and said they shouldn’t impact the major league team. Teams are using alternate training sites this season to keep reserve players sharp because the minor league season was canceled due to the pandemic.

Stearns said the positive tests came Monday and did not name the two players or the staff member. Players must give their permission for their names to be revealed after positive tests.

The entire camp was placed in quarantine.

“We have gone through contact tracing,” Stearns said. “We do not believe it will have any impact at all on our major league team. We’ve been fortunate to get through this season relatively unscathed in this area. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get all the way there at our alternate site.”

Milwaukee entered Saturday one game behind the Reds and Cardinals for second place in the NL Central, with the top two teams qualifying for the postseason.

The Brewers still will be able to take taxi squad players with them on the team’s trip to Cincinnati and St. Louis in the final week of the season. He said those players have had repeated negative tests and the team is “confident” there would be no possible spread of the virus.

“Because of the nature of who these individuals were, it’s really not going to affect the quarantine group at all,” Stearns said. “We’re very fortunate that the group of players who could potentially be on a postseason roster for us aren’t interacting all that much with the individuals that tested positive.”