Hindsight is obviously 20/20, but it sure is nice to think that the Texas Rangers gave up on Josh Hamilton and let the Los Angeles Angels give him $125 million this past winter.
Starting in June 2012, Hamilton began a monstrous decline in production.
Even after his awful, and believe it, there is no other way to term it but "awful", three months in 2012, Hamilton still posted a .285 batting average to go with 43 homers and 128 RBIs and a .931 OPS (on-base plus slugging percentage).
This year, Hamilton is hitting .238 with a .721 OPS, 19 homers and 62 RBIs.
Stat geek website FanGraphs did a study on Hamilton's decline beyond the normal stats, and the results are pretty alarming. Thanks to Norm Hitzges for pointing out these stats.
This year, the average length of a Hamilton fly ball is 26 feet shorter than last year. Last year, he had a "hard-hit ball" 34 percent of the time. This year? 22 percent of the time.
Hamilton has the third highest number of pitches swung at out of the strike zone, leaving you to wonder why pitchers would even bother throwing him a strike. When he swings at a ball to conclude his at-bat — either with an out or a hit — he is hitting .141 this season.
Here's a list of guys in baseball with a better slugging percentage than Hamilton, the guy that wowed Yankee Stadium in the Home Run Derby seemingly ages ago: Coco Crisp, James Loney, Howie Kendrick, Brian Dozier. What about on-base percentage? There's a ton of guys ahead of him including Erick Aybar, Trevor Plouffe and even Lyle Overbay.
Make no mistake, Hamilton is playing better as of late, but those overall numbers are still dreadful. He's hitting .344 in his last 24 games, and the one team he has consistently had success against this year has been his former mates. He's batting .292 with a home run and seven RBIs this season against Texas.
This is more than a slump now, this is just the way things are. And the Angels have four more years and $100 million more dollars to watch it. Enjoy.