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Josh Hamilton: “I don’t feel I owe the Rangers”

Feb 24, 2012, 12:16 PM EST

Josh Hamilton Getty Images

Josh Hamilton arrived at Rangers camp today and was predictably asked about both his recent alcohol relapse and contract, which is up after this season.

His reply:

The Rangers have done a lot of me. I have a question. Have I done a lot for the Rangers? I think I have given them everything I’ve got. When it comes down to is, people have to understand this is a business. I love Texas, I love the fans, I love the organization and I love my teammates. But I’m not going to sit here and say I owe the Rangers. I don’t feel I owe the Rangers.

In other words, don’t expect some sort of “hometown discount.” Of course, that may be a moot point if the Rangers decide that a long-term contract for a 31-year-old with lots of injuries and off-field question marks is simply too much of a risk anyway.

  1. nightrain42 - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:20 PM

    Don’t sign this guy. His arrogance is unbelievable.

    • sparkycon - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:09 PM

      Arrogance? He doesn’t owe the Rangers squat. It was the Cincinnati Reds that took a chance on Hamilton, and he came through. He’s come through for the Rangers too, and he has a couple of beers at a bar and he’s all of a sudden a big risk to sign? If you ask me, it’s Nolan Ryan that is arrogant.I hope he signs with another team and they beat the Rangers like a rented mule.

  2. phillyfan4ever - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    In the end Josh all you are is a 31 year old drug addict alcoholic, with a lot of injuries who’s production will diminsh over time

    • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:24 PM

      Who, when healthy, is a pretty good baseball player.

      Judgemental much?

    • phillyphreak - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:26 PM

      He happens to be a pretty good player when healthy.

      Why so judgmental?

    • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:40 PM

      That’s a bit much.

      • patg1041 - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:26 PM

        Really? It seems pretty accurate to me. The last 3 years, he has averaged 114 games, .308/.357/.531 and 22 HR’s a year. And even then, 2010 was a great statistical year driven by a crazy .390 BABIP. When you take into account the fact that he is in fact injury prone, on the wrong side of 30, and lets say, a political relations nightmare waiting to happen, this decision is a slam dunk. Is he a good player? Yes. Great player? No. A player you give a lucrative, longterm deal to? Hell no! The smart teams will stay far away from anything more than a two year deal.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:36 PM

        I understand, patg, but he’s more than just a “31 year old drug addict alcoholic, with a lot of injuries who’s production will diminsh over time.” He’s a father, husband, and human being who needs help, despite how arrogant we think he comes off here. So, I thought that comment was a bit much. Period.

      • patg1041 - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:51 PM

        WhenMattStairsisKing, he is a father and husband, but he is also a man who has been CAUGHT twice in compromising positions with both alcohol and other women. Somehow, I doubt that those have been the only two instances. Yes, he is human, and therefore, imperfect. But I believe that our support should only go so far. If he was at the very least humble, he would probably would get more slack from me, but he very obviously isn’t. He also doesn’t ever truly accept responsibility for his relapses. Apparently it’s those pesky demons making him drink and philander. There are far, far better men to give your support to than Josh Hamilton.

      • WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:53 PM

        Did you even see his press conference? I’m done here, man. We’ll…uh…agree to disagree.

      • somekat - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:03 PM

        Can you please define a “political relations nightmare”? I’ve heard of a public relations nightmare, but never a political

      • patg1041 - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:34 PM

        Yeah, that was a mix up of words. Probably should have looked it over.

      • thetruth113 - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:58 PM

        Guy has 12.7 WAR in his last 2 years averaging 127 games. That kind of production is worth ALOT of money. He will easily get $70 million+ with at least as good a season this year as he had last year

    • SmackSaw - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:50 PM

      Yep. The next couple o’ years are his peak. He’s one oblique strain away from missing 50 games. He’s mentally and physically fragile. If you think this latest relapse is the last one, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I’d like to sell you. Reporters smell blood. He’s starting to feel the heat.

  3. randygnyc - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    You’ve gone and and have done your job. Most of the time. When healthy. The rangers, on the other hand, have stood by you, patiently, while you stumbled. They’ve gone above and beyond what was contractually obligated, IMO. You may not feel obligated, Josh. But that’s only because you’re an entitled, self centered individual. If I’m not mistaken, you’re also the only 31 yr adult, in MLB that requires a babysitter to ensure you fulfill your contract.

    • baseballisboring - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:42 PM

      I wouldn’t sign him long term either, given his age and especially injury history, but quit being a douche bag about it. Entitled? Self centered? Where does that come from? You can’t blame him for not wanting to give them a discount, because it doesn’t work the other way. They’re not gonna overpay him just because they like him, that’s strictly Yankee business, no one else. Your babysitter comment just shows your ignorance about addiction, which is very common and unsurprising, but still stupid.

      • patg1041 - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:49 PM

        Hamilton is a man who has been given every advantage to defeat his self created problem. And yes, babysitter is a correct term. He literally has a full time, paid employee of the team whose sole job is to keep him clean and out of trouble. Many, many people defeat their addictions without such help. The moment he went without one, he had a relapse. Just the drinking would be one thing, and honestly, if he wants to be a drunk, that’s fine. It does hurt his family, but he’s a grown man who should be allowed to make such choices. But the fact that he can’t keep his dick in his pants is what gets me. I’m not naive enough to think that he’s the only public figure that cheats on his wife, but the lengths some of you people go to defend this guy is really disgusting. He’s not a hero, and honestly, to call him a grown man is a stretch. Addiction aside, he’s a philandering, arrogant, ungrateful person who solely because of his ability to hit a baseball has been paid far more in the last five years than 99% of the world’s population will see in their lifetime. I honestly don’t know exactly what great redeemable trait you guys are seeing.

      • JBerardi - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:06 PM

        He’s not a hero, and honestly, to call him a grown man is a stretch.

        It’s not a stretch, it’s a lie. The guy doesn’t drive his own car, handle his own money… we trust 16 year old kids to do those things. And the people around Hamilton don’t trust him to do those things. I think that says a lot.

  4. Chris K - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    I hope this is the beginning of a sweet sweet signing by AA and the Jays.

    Also, I read this initially as “Joey Hamilton…” and got excited to see what he was up to.

  5. WhenMattStairsIsKing - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:28 PM

    Choose your words more carefully, Hammy.

    • nolanwiffle - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:33 PM

      …and lose that stupid-looking hat.

      • Jonny 5 - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:49 PM

        You saw past those doubly stupid looking glasses??

    • The Baseball Idiot - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:05 PM

      God told Hamilton to hit a homerun in the series for the Rangers, which he did, and the ungrateful assholes failed to immediately put him in the team hall of fame and retire his number.

      I think the Rangers should quit worrying about Hamilton so much, and be more afraid that God will smite them as unbelievers and blasphemers.

  6. Jonny 5 - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:31 PM

    Well that certainly works both ways and I’m sure the president of the Rangers doesn’t really need a player who’s such a PR pain in the ass either. I doubt Texas signs a new contract with Josh Hamilton.

  7. delsj - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:41 PM

    He owes the Rangers a performance on the field in 2012 worthy of $7.25M. The rest of the drama, he can save for his book deal. If anyone wants to lock this ticking timebomb up long term, do so at your own risk.

  8. tuftsb - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:42 PM

    Let me rewrite the quote in light of taking a $ 4 million bonus as a # 1 draft pick in 1999 and blowing it all on drugs and alcohol.

    The (Tampa Bay Rays did) a lot of me. I have a question. (Did I do) a lot for the (Rays)? I think I have (not) given them everything I’ve got. When it comes down to is, people have to understand this is a business. I love (Tampa), I love the fans, I love the organization and I love my teammates. But I’m not going to sit here and say I owe the (Rays). I don’t feel I owe the (Rays).

    DFo a commercial or two for Canada Dry – and pay back the bonus that you wasted on nose candy and liver rotting liquids as part of the Twelve Step program you supposedly follow:

    8.Made a list of all persons we had harmed, and became willing to make amends to them all.
    9.Made direct amends to such people wherever possible, except when to do so would injure them or others.

    • hep3 - Feb 24, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Just because the alcholoic quit drinking, it doesn’t mean they are not a jerk anymore……

    • spartybeaumont - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:48 PM

      All I saw here was George Costanza running around…

      “HE SKIPPED STEP 9! HE SKIPPED STEP 9!”

  9. stackers1 - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:06 PM

    I’m coming up on 19 years in recovery & I’m grateful to be sitting in a cubical, making collection calls to my company’s delinquent customers. I do my job to the best of my abilities & they give me a fair paycheck & let me go onto HBT at lunch. This guy has absolutely no gratitude whatsoever. After the way he threw his 3rd base coach under a bus last year, I don’t know why The Rangers would want him back.

  10. riverace19 - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:18 PM

    Introducing…. a total dirt bag. This is what Bryce Harper is going to look like in 8-9 years. One good season and a HR derby and he is….
    Still a dirt bag.

    • JBerardi - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:00 PM

      Presumably Bryce Harper isn’t going to become a massive drug addict at any point, but whatever, minor details…

  11. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:49 PM

    The white knighting from some of you is hilarious! What exactly have the Rangers done for him the last 4 years? Umm, they said nice things while he relapsed twice, and umm that’s about it? You make it seem like they did him a favor like that paralyzed kid the Rangers drafted, or set up a fund for the kid whose father died last year.

    They’ve been paying a ballplayer for the last 4 years, which is what they do every year to their players. So what exactly does Hamilton owe them?

  12. scatterbrian - Feb 24, 2012 at 1:55 PM

    Time to play Choose Your Own Adventure!

    You get hired by a well-financed company to do a job. You perform the job to the best of your ability, and the company pays you a handsome salary. You missed some time due to illness but still made up for it when you were in the office, making you one of the most valuable assets to the company. You are also viewed as a valuable asset within your industry, and there is interest in your services elsewhere.

    You also had some out-of-the-office issues that did not appear to affect your work. You used resources within and outside your company to cope with these issues. There is a legitimate fear within your company that these issues could someday affect your work. Your boss has had a similar issue in the past.

    It is now time to renegotiate a salary with your employer. You are aware of the outside interests, as well as your market value. However, you are hearing that you should take a lower salary with your current employer simply because they gave you a job, even though there were other companies interested in your services at the time.

    Do you:

    A) take the lower salary with your current company, despite your great work in the past but understanding the company’s apprehension due to your past issues? Or,
    B) look for greener pastures, with the confidence that you are still capable of great work and that your issues are under control?

    • kennylee1221 - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:25 PM

      If you’re comparing apples to apples, you’re saying that his salary won’t be gauranteed and that he can be terminated for just cause (just like me and you and the employer in your scenario). If that’s the case, pay him fair market value, and fire him if he becomes an issue !

      • scatterbrian - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:43 PM

        Forgive me, I was just trying to have some fun with this. The point is it that it’s ridiculous to suggest that an employee owes an employer anything other than the work for which s/he is being paid.

      • patg1041 - Feb 24, 2012 at 5:09 PM

        scatterbrian, I actually agree with you, and when it comes down to matters of labor vs. management, I am almost always going to be very pro labor. But in this case, Josh Hamilton needs to keep his mouth shut. Not after just having a relapse. It would be one thing if a reporter asked him a direct question about taking a discount, but to actually bring it up like he did shows incredibly poor taste.

  13. Old Gator - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:01 PM

    It was a stupid answer to a gratuitous question that Hamilton asked himself. It sounds to me like he’s setting up both his excuses and his bargaining position, such as he thinks he’ll have when it comes time to negotiate, in advance. He’s just doing it poorly, especially when he’s only so recently slipped up so badly. It’s also possible that, if he’s having marital issues – as seems likely – he’s letting off a steam from a lot of pent-up frustration, some of which, at least unconsciously, is no doubt directed at himself.

    The bottom line is, if he has a good season and stays clean and healthy, someone – even if not the Rangers – will offer him a lucrative contract. If he doesn’t, he won’t get one.

    • henryd3rd - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:21 PM

      Absolutely! Does Steve Howe’s name ring a bell? As long as there is one owner that feels he can produce he’ll get his money. The problem begins once he’s no longer able to produce and he enters the real world. No handlers, no agents, no friends and no money. Ask Jose Conseco how sweet life is now in the fast lane of the Mexican League?

  14. patsandsox - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:11 PM

    Give me a break didnt a lot of great players play drunk? Babe Ruth, Mikey Mantle, Billy Martin….

    Seriously as an alcoholic hes one bender away from ruining his career, back in those guys days people looked the other way. Today sports writers would hound him the entire time and report every drunken move as he crashes and burns.

    If sober he is a heck of a talent, and I understand what he was saying, its a two way street, but anybody that gives him a longterm contract is taking a big chance that he stays clean.

    • henryd3rd - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:27 PM

      Poor comparisons if you ask me. Babe died a pitiful shell of himself and I might add he was alone. No one in baseball wanted anything to do with him once his skills had deteriorated. Mickey’s lament when he was dying from liver disease was had he know he was going to live as long as he did he would have taken better care of his body. Billy Martin died in a car crash as a result of drunk driving.

      Hamilton has time to change and he has the support systems in place to help him change. He must first admit he needs to change or he’ll become another footnote in history

      • Old Gator - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:53 PM

        The Babe died of cancer, heryd.

  15. artisan3m - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    Hamilton is correct ~ he doesn’t owe the Rangers anything with the exception of fulfilling the terms of his remaining contract. There are few promises in MLB and even fewer are kept. Josh was a contributor every year he played for the Rangers. He certainly was not the only one on the roster to hit the DL or PUP list ~ nor will he be the last, regardless of contract length or monetary consideration. I don’t see him getting a long-term contract but I don’t see him playing for peanuts, either. If the Rangers don’t want him, you can bet another team will.

  16. jrspike - Feb 24, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Who said DRUNKS cant play, just watch any sand lot game. He should be hired by Budwiser as their spokesman, Grab some Bud.

  17. bradentonbuc - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:10 PM

    No, he owes Texas nothing. He has already paid them with his play. If he owes anyone it’s the Rays who stuck by him WAAAY too long when he first came into the league. 1st round pick, lots of money and never really played for them because he had no social skills. Should be a warning for all the overbearing parents out there training their kids to be their retirement.

    • JBerardi - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:53 PM

      Are you kidding? He never really played for the Rays because he never advanced through their minor league system because he was strung out on crack for four years. I have no idea where you’re getting this “social skills” stuff; I guess not being a crack addict is a social skill of sorts…

  18. chiadam - Feb 24, 2012 at 3:51 PM

    Hamilton then scurried off into left field and tried snorting the foul line. Josh doesn’t owe the foul line anything!

  19. vincentbojackson - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:17 PM

    Sounds familiar. This is how he treated the Reds after they stuck by him and gave him an opportunity to start his career over.

    He has no loyalty to anyone. Only cares about himself.

    • JBerardi - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:55 PM

      Huh? The Reds had him under team control for years and they traded him.

    • jwbiii - Feb 24, 2012 at 7:19 PM

      Did Hamilton leave the Reds or did the Reds trade Hamilton?

      The Reds have no loyalty to anyone. They only care about themselves.

  20. rcali - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:28 PM

    As long as he is comfortable with a lot of clauses in his contract, I’m okay for him looking for the best deal. If he’s getting upset about those clauses, then he still hasn’t truly admitted to his problems.

  21. jhastrello - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    As someone who drives by the Ballpark twice a day going to/from work (and following the Rangers since the late 80’s) – here is my perspective.

    1) Nobody held him down and poured either drugs or alcohol into him. He chose to take them. Self inflicted and he is solely responsible.

    2) Not only did he make a very stupid mistake early last year that cost him about 6 weeks and a lot of games played; but he also was once again hurt and not that much of a factor in the postseason (groin injury that required surgery in the off season). If it would have happended in the regular season – he would have been on the Disabled List once again.

    3) I don’t expect him to give the Rangers a ‘deal’ – but then again he should be offered a contract based upon his age; physical abilities and short comings; and the impact that him leaving the Rangers for another team, might mean.

    4) Lastly, he seems to be just another ‘me too’ athelte trying to convince us that no matter all of the problems and shortcomings – the Rangers are expected to look the other way. What is he going to be doing, when at the end of the year he is hurt once again, and he starts looking for that big free agent signing. Frankly, his story is getting old here in N. Texas.

  22. goforthanddie - Feb 24, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    Texas hasn’t done anything other teams wouldn’t have. And they didn’t do it as a human kindness, they did it to use him to better the team. That’s how it works nowadays. He got his money, the team got its production, feel-good publicity, and money.

  23. karluke - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:13 PM

    It’s sad to see all the hate criticism here. The guy had a relapse and now he’s a washed up drunk and drug addict? Give me a break and give Josh one too.

  24. schaffershokai - Feb 24, 2012 at 6:23 PM

    He’d have more credibility if he was doing this: http://youtu.be/OvgJ6foD58Y

  25. genericcommenter - Feb 24, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    Of course he doesn’t owe them anything. Both parties act in their own best interests. It’s not like he’s a marginal player with substance problems that some teams took on as a charity case. Teams took him on because he’s talented and has produced at an elite level at times. The Rangers have been paying him for his on-field performance. They may have done some “extra” things to try to help him stay sober, but again that’s simply in their own best economic interests, and star players have always received extra support and benefits regardless of their private lives and off-field behavior.

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