Winds of Change Roll Through Arlington as Josh Hamilton Moves On

It is tough for a team to put together all the pieces needed to win. It is even harder to keep that team together one it is formed.

When fans turn out to watch the Texas Rangers play in spring training next year fans will find that they will need to delve into their programs in order to figure out who is who out there. It will not be because anyone retired. There will be a couple of key players still hurt, but for the most part it’s because of something that fans are not too happy about.

Their former favorite players opted to go play elsewhere.

It could also be because the team did not try real hard to keep some guys, but that’s irrelevant. What does matter is that the team has seen some key players change uniforms.

The biggest change comes as no surprise. All-star outfielder and former AL MVP Josh Hamilton will be taking the field for the Los Angeles Angels next season.

For the second year in a row the Rangers lost their top free agent to their division rival. Last year it was pitcher C.J. Wilson moving out west for a five year, $75 million deal. Hamilton’s deal was for five years as well, but for $125 million.

It’s been reported that Hamilton had wanted a seven year deal, but the Rangers were not willing to give a 31-year old player with injury issues such a long and lucrative deal. The team was willing to give him a four year deal for $100 million. It isn’t known if they would have tried to match or beat the Angels offer, but Hamilton didn’t even give them a chance opting for a fresh start instead.

It comes as no surprise that he wanted to move on. There were constantly stories in the paper last season about someone in the organization questioning his desire to play; chief among his detractors was team president Nolan Ryan. Tack on the way he was booed by fans towards the end of last season and it becomes real easy to see why he would want to leave for a new team.

Even with the way he struggled after the first couple months of the season he still led the team in home runs (43) and RBIs (128); both marks were second best to triple crown winner Miguel Cabrera.

Hamilton is just the latest in a long list of players that have left the Rangers this off-season. Catcher Mike Napoli, reliever Koji Uehara, and pitcher Ryan Dempster are now with Boston. Popular infielder Michael Young was traded to Philadelphia.

''We still feel like we have a good ball club and we feel like we're in a good position,'' Ryan said. ''So I don't think that we're feeling like any pressure to go out and make something happen.''

All the moves will open the door for some of the young talent that the team has to step up. Since the fan base has become accustomed to winning these last three seasons that is something they’ll be expected to do pretty quick.
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