David Ortiz thought Red Sox signing Josh Hamilton ‘was going to happen’
|06.08.13 at 10:07 am ET|
David Ortiz thought the Red Sox were going to reel in what was perceived as this offseason’s biggest prize.
Ortiz told WEEI.com that he thought the Sox would sign free agent Josh Hamilton this past offseason. The outfielder, of course, chose to join the Los Angeles Angels, signing a five-year, $133 million deal.
“I thought it was going to happen,” Ortiz said. “It didn’t happen, but I thought it was going to happen. We let some guys go that was like $300 million, so I thought there was a chance.”
According to a major league source, Hamilton and the Red Sox never came close to a deal during the 32-year-old’s free agency period.
General manager Ben Cherington and John Farrell did meet with Hamilton during the winter meetings in Nashville, but with the Red Sox not willing to go beyond three years on any deal Hamilton’s representatives never truly fully engaged the Red Sox regarding a potential deal.
Hamilton has struggled in his first year with the Angels, entering their series at Fenway Park hitting .216 with a .660 OPS and eight home runs.
The struggles continued concerns left over from the second half of 2012, when he saw his OPS drop from 1.106 in the first half, to .833 in the final three months.
Hamilton continues to swing at an extraordinary number of pitches out of the strike zone, totaling the third-most (194) swings at pitches out of the zone of any player in the majors. He is hitting just .122 on those errant offerings.
Fifty-two of Hamilton’s 62 strikeouts this season have been swinging. He also has the second-most first-pitch swings-and-misses in the big leagues.
“Josh is struggling a little bit, but we know at the end of the season he’s going to be fine,” Ortiz said. “It’s just a matter of time.”
Making the Red Sox’ decision not to pursue Hamilton harder seem better for the time being has been the emergence of Daniel Nava.
The outfielder not only has emerged to play above-average defense at both corner outfield positions, but he entered Saturday totaling the best on-base percentage (.387) of any American League outfielder, while carrying the fourth-best OPS (.846) of the group.
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