The Angels are in talks with Josh Hamilton that could result in the troubled outfielder leaving the team within 72 hours, according to a person familiar with the matter who is not authorized to discuss it publicly.
The Angels are expected to trade Hamilton to his former team, the Texas Rangers. The Angels are more likely to receive cash considerations than any players in return for Hamilton, the person said.
Although the Angels had announced a plan to send Hamilton to their Arizona training facility as soon as this week to prepare for a comeback, Hamilton balked at the plan. It is believed Hamilton would like to play for a club close to his Texas home.
The Rangers are reportedly interested in a reunion with Hamilton, an All-Star in each of his five years in Texas, according to the Rangers’ website. Hamilton has never been an All-Star in his three seasons outside Texas, two with the Angels and one with the Cincinnati Reds.
The Angels owe Hamilton $83 million through 2017. With a trade or other settlement, the Angels could save a small part of that money. If the Angels tried to void his contract, they would set up an arbitration fight with the players union.
“They’re considering a lot of options,” a second person familiar with the matter said. “I don’t think they’re provoking a legal fight.”
After Hamilton reported a relapse in his battle with substance abuse, an arbitrator ruled he had not violated his drug treatment program and could not be suspended by Major League Baseball. Angels owner Arte Moreno, asked whether Hamilton would play again for the team, said: “I will not say that.”
SI.com first reported that Hamilton could be within days of leaving the Angels.