Josh Hamilton’s tenure in Los Angeles hasn’t quite lived up to the expectations that came with the five-year, $125 million contract that he signed before the 2013 season.
Now it looks as though he’s run into yet another speedbump.
Angels’ beat writer, Alden Gonzalez is reporting that Hamilton will undergo surgery to repair the acromioclavicular joint in his right shoulder. The timetable for his return is roughly six-to-eight weeks.
Hamilton, 33, originally hurt his shoulder late last season and missed the bulk of September before returning to the field looking like a shell of his former MVP-self in the postseason.
The surgery and recovery time make Hamilton unlikely to be ready for Opening Day.
Since joining the Angels, Hamilton has hit .255/.316/.426 with 31 home runs, 123 RBI, and 116 runs scored.
As a point of reference, in his final year with Texas he hit .285/.354/.577 with 43 home runs, 128 RBI, and 103 runs scored in roughly 350 fewer at-bats than he’s had in his two years in Los Angeles.
It’s been a far cry from the .313/.370/.583 line and 33 home runs, 107 RBI, and 93 runs scored that he averaged during his final three years with the Texas Rangers.
Throughout his entire five-year stint in Texas, Hamilton was one of the best hitters in the game. He was a five-time All-Star, a three-time Silver Slugger, a won the 2010 American League Most Valuable Player award.
He’s yet to match any of those accomplishments in Los Angeles and this setback won’t do him any favors as he looks to get his career back on track in 2015.
Matt Joyce – acquired via off-season trade – figures to benefit the most from Hamilton’s early absence. Joyce has been roughly as good as Hamilton over the last two years and is three years younger, so it’s not impossible to imagine him pushing Hamilton for playing time after his shoulder has healed.
If that happens, it’s safe to assume it won’t do anything to quiet the rumors that Hamilton will be moved before the end of his contract with Los Angeles.
Hamilton’s story should be an interesting one to follow this season.