Of Gods, WAR and Josh Hamilton
For whom the gods create, they must also destroy.
Not sure who said that, if anybody ever actually did. It might have been Daniel, or Euripides or it could be from the original Star Trek. Spock was always saying neat things, although it was Dr. McCoy who said, “The bureaucratic mentality is the only constant in the universe.”
But the one constant with the Rangers is change, and with change comes the primordial urge to destroy that which was created, in this case a larger-than-life centerfielder who once awed with his immense talent and inspiring comeback but now is just another player who missed a fly ball and can’t lay off the breaking ball.
So now the Rangers are out of the playoffs and Josh Hamilton is headed for free agency, and it seems inevitable that his departure is imminent. For it to be the reverse would be a reversal of Rangers history, which says that the good guys all die in the end.
Or at least walk away, or sent packing, some like Juan Gonzalez to be never heard from again, and others to be much later forgiven for their sins so they can be brought back into the post-career fold. Sometimes time does heal the most grievous wounds while lesser transgressions remain indelible in the collective psyche.
Ian Kinsler said this summer that we were living in “The Golden Age of Rangers Baseball,” and somehow it seems that Hamilton had something to do with that. In the misty water-colored memories of the way they were, wasn’t there a two-run home run late in a game last October that might have meant something if…
Never mind. That’s a minor point, kind of like the four home runs back in May in Baltimore. Seems like back then there was a clamor to get Hamilton re-signed or maybe time has really re-written every line.
Maybe this was really was the gilded age although some still hark back fondly to the Team in Red, the 1996-99 Rangers that won three division titles. They never could get past the Bronx Dynasty but those red uniforms haven’t been forgotten.
What happened to that bunch?
Oh yeah, There was that big trade with Detroit and the chirpy first baseman was shown the door. The first baseman had to go, he was no longer physically able to perform at a high level and clubhouse leadership doesn’t enter into the WAR formula.
Will Clark didn’t do WAR any more than Michael Young, at least not at the level of Alex Rodriguez or Mark Teixeira when they were in Rangers. Pretty sure their WAR was off the charts while they were here, but WAR or no WAR, all were shown the door. Hey, there once was a catcher who wasn’t even offered arbitration.
Nothing is ever unanimous in the court of public opinion, but any groundswell to re-sign Hamilton seems to have gone the other way. Nothing of course is ever certain because he won’t be a free agent until after the World Series. Commissioner Bud Selig has to hand that trophy over to someone – Buck Showalter maybe – before the free agency period begins.
What is certain is Hamilton is the best free agent on the market among position players and nobody comes close. He is also 31 and an outfielder, and teams haven’t had much luck lately signing older outfielders to long-term deals, although none were remotely as good as Hamilton. Or had his unique personal history.
Everybody has their opinion, depending on which eager baseball insider gets a chance to anonymously expound on the subject to whatever national outlet is available, and don’t forget about the debate over whether Hamilton owes the Rangers anything, of if he is capable of functioning outside the nurtured Eden of the Ballpark in Arlington.
God help us all if he ever gets exiled to the mean streets of Atlanta, Cincinnati, San Francisco, St. Louis or the nation’s capital.
But that’s a decision for Hamilton to decide, or his agent Michael Moye, who hasn’t said anything about anything since this whole thing started. Apparently he has some bizarre notion that it might actually really be professional not to make private negotiations public, even if you do it anonymously. There’s always one odd duck in the bunch.
Remember this. The simple fact is the Rangers have a choice in this as well. They could just simply say: thanks but no thanks, thanks for the memories but we’re moving on. Oh yeah, don’t forget about the new direction as well. Somebody has already muttered something about Hamilton not wanted here at any price.
Which fits in perfectly with the Rangers eternal theme of…For whom the gods create, they must also destroy.