So…Josh Hamilton is an Angel. Who saw that coming? Not many, but it makes total sense. The Angels cleared payroll space down to $138 million, weren't overly impressed with the free agent pitching options, and saw an opportunity to strike a blow against the Texas Rangers. But as with any deal of this magnitude, there will be some benefits and drawbacks.
– The Angels lineup is suddenly less right handed heavy. Before the Hamilton signing, the Angels had little balance. The only potential left-handed hitters were Kendrys Morales, Erick Aybar and Alberto Callaspo (all of whom are switch hitters).
– The Rangers are weaker. Sometimes the best offense is a good defense. The Dodgers prevented Greinke from landing in Arlington. The Indians, D-Backs, and Reds mega deal has prevented (for now) Justin Upton from moving to Texas. The Red Sox priced Napoli out of the Lone Star State. Keeping Hamilton away from the Rangers just adds to their offseason woes.
– Hamilton combined with Albert Pujols will give opposing teams fits. Combine the two of them with Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales, and suddenly Angel Stadium could become a hitter friendly place to play.
– Improving the offense is a good way of covering up their shortcomings, which currently is the back end of the rotation. Joe Blanton will likely give up his fair share of runs, so the Angels will need to score. Garrett Richards has a ton of upside, but with any pitcher that lacks experience, there's always the chance he'll struggle to keep runners off base.
– It gives the Angels trade chips. They have a weak minor league system and need to protect what few prospects they actually have. So now the Angels have an excess of outfielders and more than likely, Peter Bourjos will be expendable. Dipoto could dangle him and even Garrett Richards in order to land a good starter for the rotation.
– The Angels landed a marguee offensive player for only five years. Other sluggers of his caliber (Pujols specifically) have landed contracts twice that length.
– Hamilton has had his fair share of off the field issues, and playing in Southern California can't be the safest place to keep his inner demons at bay, though this concern will likely get overplayed over the rest of the winter.
-The Angels just paid another slugger $25 million a year. Now they have three different players on their team making over $20 million a year (Vernon Wells, Pujols and Hamilton). Sure, this is a large market team, but the payroll will now be up toward $165 million, which means the Angels are strapped for cash.
– It totally offended Torii Hunter. Hunter was told the Angels simply didn't have the cash for him, and being a business, he was alright with that. Now suddenly the Angels open their pocketbooks. So now it becomes apparent to a fan favorite that the Angels had money, just not for him.
– The Angels just signed yet another aging player. Chances are, Hamilton won't be the same offensive player at ages 32-37 that he was 27-31. Like the Pujols deal, the Angels are paying a lot of money for a player's non-prime years.
– Though Hamilton is a good defensive outfielder, he's not Peter Bourjos. This move means that Mike Trout will move back to CF (where he's legitimately one of the top three in the game). Still, this makes the outfield defense slightly worse. Not a good thing for a pitching staff looking to get all the support they can.
– It puts everyone in the Angels organization on the hot seat. If GM Jerry Dipoto couldn't build a winner with Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Josh Hamilton and a $160 million payroll, he might be on his way out. If Mike Scioscia can't get his team to win with that talented of a team, he may be on his way out. If the Angels don't win in 2013, things can get really bad, really fast for this organization.
– The Hamilton move more than likely means Kendrys Morales will be gone after 2013. The Angels have slugger C.J. Cron in the minors and he may be blocked as well. In order to keep Hamilton and Pujols healthy in their mid and late 30's, they'll need to DH as much as possible.
All in all, there is a lot of good about Josh Hamilton, Angels superstar. But at the same time, there's a lot of bad about it as well. It really is a double-edged sword, and one that can just as easily strike in either direction.