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Nolan Ryan says Josh Hamilton is giving at bats away

Jul 24, 2012, 9:12 AM EDT

Josh Hamilton AP AP

Early this season it looked like it’d be impossible for the Rangers to let Josh Hamilton walk when he hits free agency this fall. Then Hamilton started to skid and he hasn’t stopped. In June he hit .223/.318/.436. In July he’s hitting .172/.242/.345. He has a grand total of seven homers in those two months.

Nolan Ryan was asked about it on a radio show the other day and this is what he had to say:

You’re right that some of his at bats aren’t very impressive from the standpoint that he doesn’t work deep into the count, he’s swinging at a lot of bad pitches, he just doesn’t seem to be locked in at all. So what you’re hoping is that his approach will change and he’ll start giving quality at bats because there’s a lot of those at bats that he just gives away. One of the things I’ve always commented on is I can’t ever say that I ever saw Henry [Hank] Aaron give an at bat away.

He speaks truth. And maybe I’m reading way too much into this, but I get the sense than he’s doing more than just describing what’s wrong with Hamilton. Rather, he’s also laying the groundwork for letting Hamilton walk after this year without Rangers fans going crazy. Reminding them that while Hamilton may be talented, he’s not the sort of superstar [cough] Hank Aaron [cough] that only comes around once in a lifetime and, yes, we will survive without him.

  1. ninjasports - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:24 AM

    Sports are ultimately a business, and letting Hamilton go is obviously a business decision because he is a great player

  2. suhisabeast90 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:31 AM

    Can I have one of those bats he’s giving away? I have a pine tar addiction.

  3. sabathiawouldbegoodattheeighthtoo - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:34 AM

    While Hamilton has tremendous potential, the Rangers offense could certainly endure without him. They would be better off locking up Napoli to a far more modest extension and nabbing a less-expensive OF in free agency (Victorino? Swisher? Hunter?) or from their farm.

    They should not be giving Hamilton an ARod contract or they could end up with, well, an ARod contract.

  4. beefytrout - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:52 AM

    I certainly understand the thinking behind preparing for Hamilton to not be a Ranger in 2013, but wouldn’t it make more sense to trade him and get something valuable in return?

    • Phillies Homer - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:00 AM

      Maybe if they weren’t in first place and arguably the most complete team in the AL.

      • beefytrout - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:07 AM

        Things aren’t going *that* well for them… a month ago they had a run differential that dwarfed everyone else. Before last night, the Yankees had more or less caught them. They just lost Lewis for the season, have Feliz still on the DL, Holland just came off it, Oswalt’s back is acting up, and Darvish is still figuring things out. They’re using Tanner Scheppers in the bullpen, for crying out loud.

        There is lots that could be done to improve the Rangers. And the laaa alberts are not going away.

  5. js20011041 - Jul 24, 2012 at 9:53 AM

    Dave Cameron wrote a nice article about this at Fangraphs a little while back saying pretty much the same thing. He really does need to tighten up. It’s probably not a good idea to take Vlad Guerrero’s approach at the plate unless you can put the bat on the ball like Vlad Guerrero.

  6. crali - Jul 24, 2012 at 11:17 AM

    This reminds me of what the Yankees did to Bernie, Posada, & Jeter. One might think that as a former player Ryan would find a different way of doing this – especially when it comes to someone who has issues but then it’s always about the money, isn’t it?

  7. vallewho - Jul 24, 2012 at 12:50 PM

    [cough] speculation [cough]

  8. artisan3m - Jul 24, 2012 at 1:54 PM

    Why is Hamilton still batting 3rd in the lineup? In fact, with Gentry’s BA along with his speed and consistency, why is Hamilton still IN the lineup? Maybe Josh needs to fall off the wagon again. Right after his last encounter with a bottle, he was a holy terror.
    Wash’s loyalty is admirable but Josh has become a liability at the plate. The message is clear ~ there is no penalty on the Rangers for non-performance. That’s not good.

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