ARLINGTON, TX - JUNE 25: Fans hold up signs for Josh Hamilton at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on June 25, 2012 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Josh Hamilton's wife made it known, loud and clear, in a recent Sports Illustrated article that documented his struggles with addiction and what is sure to be the most intriguing free agency case in recent memory.
But here's a tip to our favorite MVP slugger: You might want to start hitting the baseball again, dude.
Remember when Albert Pujols started the season in a tremendous funk and we all pointed and laughed at him as Hamilton was setting the baseball world ablaze. Well, over the past month, Hamilton is in a worse way than Pujols ever thought about being in. In fact, since June 2, Hamilton has hit just .188 with an awful .278 on-base percentage and an even worse .388 slugging percentage in his past 90 plate appearances. Also packed into those 90 plate appearances? Thirty-two strikeouts. Yeah, let that sink in a little. Hamilton has struck out at a rate similar to the one he was hitting at earlier in the season.
He added four more strikeouts on Wednesday night as everyone else in the Texas Rangers' lineup seemed to get going offensively. In his last 10 games, Hamilton has two four-strikeout games, a three-K game and has 18 total compared to his six hits and five RBIs. After one of his strikeouts on Wednesday, he walked back to the dugout with a smirk on his face and a bit of a giggle. What he's doing is not funny, not in the least bit.
Players that get paid what Hamilton is going to want in free agency don't go through stretches like this. The one thing Hamilton has going in his favor right now is that he's stayed healthy so far, but over the last month he'd almost be doing the team a solid by being hurt. Maybe he needs a two-week stint on the disabled list to get his mind re-focused and his batteries re-charged. Who knows?
Then, there's the bat tossing. After Tuesday's game, when he hit his second home run in as many games, he made a half-hearted joking remark to Emily Jones in the postgame interview on the field before addressing the bat tossing issue, saying he has no control over it and it's his amazing power that has caused him to throw a bat into the stands more than a dozen times this year and in each of the past three games. At this point, Hamilton is throwing more bats in the stands than he's sending balls into the stands. Hell, at this point, we'll take a couple of foul balls even. Anything but weak strikeouts out down-and-away breaking balls.
Give us something, Josh. You're going to have to, or you and your wife will be sorely disappointed come payday.
Jon Daniels and Nolan Ryan are too smart to let one month judge Hamilton — good or bad. They likely know what they're going to offer right now. Hamilton will rebound. He's too good not to, but he needs to do it soon before panic sets in.