Los Angeles Angels Outfielder Josh Hamilton will not be suspended for his recent alcohol and drug abuse after an arbitration ruling said Hamilton did not violate Major League Baseball’s joint drug agreement. The decision means Hamilton will not receive any disciplinary action by the MLB and can return to baseball when he is ready and willing.
Hamilton, now entering into the third year of a five-year $125 million contract, self-reported his use of cocaine and alcohol to league officials in February. According to CBS Sports, it appears because Hamilton seemingly turned himself in, his defense was able to “successfully [argue] that it was a slip and not a transgression or a violation,” said MLB Insider Jon Heyman.
However, not everyone was in agreement with the ruling.
Angels President John Carpino expressed his dissatisfaction with the decision, saying it “defies logic.” Jerry Dipoto, the Angels’ general manager, said he was disappointed with Hamilton, but wants to make sure Hamilton gets the care he needs.
“We are going to do everything possible to assure he receives proper help for himself and for the well-being of his family,” said Dipoto.
This reaction by Angels management has many questioning the intentions of the franchise.
Ken Rosenthal showed his skepticism on a Fox Sports Live report.
“It sure doesn’t sound like a team that is supportive of their player right now. Instead it sounds like a team that wants that player gone,” said Rosenthal.
Since coming to Los Angeles from Texas, Hamilton’s offensive production has declined. Despite the Angels winning their division last year, Hamilton battled multiple injuries, appearing in only 89 games, logging 44 RBIs, ten homers and a batting average of .263. In fact he is still dealing with an injury, as Hamilton missed the entire Angels Spring Training this year after having shoulder surgery in early February.
But some players, as well as manager Mike Scioscia, have come out in support of Hamilton. Pitcher C.J. Wilson even expressed his distaste for Jerry Dipoto’s remarks on the situation, calling it “disheartening.”
“I’m just going to focus on the last part of [Dipoto’s statement], which was, ‘We are focused on Josh and his family.’ That’s the part that I agree with,” said Wilson.
Hamilton does have a decade-long history with drug abuse according to a story by USA Today. While he was with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2004-2006, Hamilton failed six drug tests, causing him to be suspended. Then in 2009 and 2012, while with the Texas Rangers, he had multiple alcohol-abuse incidents.
Since 2006, Hamilton has had an “accountability partner” that helps with his addiction problem. According to a Los Angeles Time report, Hamilton decreased the amount of time with his accountability partner in 2014, something that Dipoto said will be readjusted this upcoming season.
It remains to be seen what Josh Hamilton’s future will be with the Angels after his current injury rehab stint. But one thing is for sure; the West Coast just got its very own A-Rod-esque drama story, just in time for Opening Day weekend.