Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton says Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno knew there were risks when he was signed the five-time All-Star to a lucrative contract despite his well-reported problems with substance abuse.
Hamilton was already in the league’s drug program when the Angels signed him to a five-year contract worth $125 million in 2012 after he spent the previous five seasons with Texas.
Los Angeles traded Hamilton to Texas on Monday for a player to be named later or cash considerations, and the Angels will pay about $70 million of $83 million still remaining on Hamilton’s contract.
"He knew what the deal was when he signed me. Hands down," Hamilton said of Moreno at his introductory press conference with the Rangers. "He knew what he was getting, what the risks were. Under the (joint drug agreement), it is what it is."
After Hamilton reportedly relapsed and an arbitrator ruled that he did not violate the drug policy, Moreno said he didn’t know if he would ever play for the Angels again and said he was disappointed that Hamilton was not accountable for his actions.
"I have no clue what he is talking about," Hamilton said. "I showed up every day. Played hard every day I was there. Going into this season, I hadn't been the player they wanted me to be.
"But I worked my butt off to be that player this year for the Angels. They just didn't want it to happen to me for some reason. It doesn't hurt my feelings, doesn't make me mad. But I'm prepared.”
Hamilton, 33, hit .263 with 10 home runs and 44 RBIs in 89 games during the 2014 season and is on the disabled list after having surgery to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder. He is expected to be out until next month.
He says he doesn’t know how he will be received by Rangers fans after returning to the team.
“I have no clue how the fans will react, but it’s got to be better than the first game I played here with the Angels," he said. "So anything from there up, we’re good to go.”
- Scooby Axson