2013 stats: /.210/.266/.384, 10 HR, 0.0 fWAR
Hamilton was at the top of many lists during the offseason, and it is no secret why. He was easily the best player available, and maybe the only true lineup changer. But the keyword in that sentence is “was”
Last year, Hamilton posted a .385 wOBA and 140 wRC+, and his career marks are .377 and 130. Both are well above average, and would be a welcomed sight to any lineup, especially one as anemic as the Mariner’s.
The Angels obviously saw that as well, and opted to give him a 5 year, $125 million contract to man right field and the cleanup spot. Unfortunately for them (fortunately for everyone else), Hamilton has not lived up to his name or reputation.
As seen above, he is currently sporting a .650 OPS on the year, .240 points below his career average. That has led to him being a replacement level player as far as Fangraphs is concerned.
Needless to say, that kind of production isn’t worth an average of $25 million a year.
Much of his recent struggles have come from his inability to not swing at everything. However, these discipline problems have been present for more than just this year. In fact, he is swinging less — both overall and outside of the zone — than he did last year. But for whatever reason, he has not been squaring up the ball.
In the past, he was able to get away with his hacking ways with his ability to still square up the ball. But he has lost that this year, as seen in the fact that his line drive and HR/FB rates have both plummeted.
Hamilton will probably get it going to some extent, and look closer to his old self. But this is an extraordinary slump that won’t be easy to overcome. At this point, we should all be relieved that Hamilton didn’t want “our” money.