Wilson rips Angels management, accuses club of spying on him
While the Angels front office has been at odds with Josh Hamilton, the players have kept their comments on the outfielder who admitted to a drug and alcohol relapse in the offseason positive and supportive.
Few have been more supportive than teammate C.J. Wilson. Wilson was teammates with Hamilton in Texas before the two joined the Angels in successive years, Wilson in December 2011 and Hamilton a year later.
The left-handed pitcher sympathizes with Hamilton’s addiction battles and also stands up for him partly because of Wilson's role as the team’s MLB Players Association rep.
As news on Hamilton — and the Angels' stance on the slugger — developed, criticisms of the club have increased from several circles, including Wilson.
Many believe the club is acting inappropriately with their public stance against Hamilton, particularly in reportedly removing his nameplate from his Angel Stadium locker and all merchandise bearing Hamilton's name and number from team stores. After MLB announced earlier this month Hamilton would not be disciplined under the league's substance-abuse policy, the Angels announced publicly they wanted the outfielder suspended.
"Do I agree with the decision that was made by the treatment board? Absolutely not," Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said shortly after the decision was announced.
Speculation has since been rampant that the club was hopeful Hamilton would be suspended and the Angels could avoid paying at least some of the $90 million they owe Hamilton, who has hit just .255 with 31 home runs while playing in only 240 games in two seasons in Anaheim.
Well, Wilson has apparently had enough, and he unloaded to the Los Angeles Times' Mike DiGiovanna on Saturday night.
On the subject of owner Arte Moreno and the front office's treatment of Hamilton:
"It doesn't seem like any bridges are being built — it seems like a fairly contentious situation. It's definitely at a level right now. No one is talking to us about it. We're supposed to stay out of the loop. But it's fairly obvious what their intentions are."
On the assertion by many in the media that Hamilton would be treated differently if he performed better as an Angel — or were not owed so much money:
"Some of the commentators had a lot of insight — if the situation was (Hamilton had played better the last two seasons), it would be turned around and be different. Josh went through the whole process with an arbitrator. It should just be about him rehabbing and getting healthy and playing baseball again. The fact is, it's not."
On the way Wilson himself was treated early on as an Angel, shortly after signing his five-year, $77.5 million contract:
“When the Angels first signed me, they hired a private detective to follow me around because they were mad that I was riding motorcycles."
DiPoto denied Wilson’s accusation about the private eye. “That is 100 percent not true,” DiPoto said in response via the Times.
Wilson said the bottom line is if Hamilton were producing, the Angels wouldn't be taking sides against him. Instead, they appear bitter that they made a poor investment that isn’t working out. But critics would say that is their fault for guaranteeing so much money to a player they knew was risky.
And memo to the Angels: Rather than hiring a private detective to tail a guy after you sign him, why not take care of that ahead of time like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers did? That way you can avoid making bad signings.
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