As Angels fans, we've given a lot of thought to the idea of re-signing Zack Greinke. We've also given a lot of thought to Josh Hamilton, but I imagine most of those thoughts are not fit for a family site like this. Now though, I specifically want us all to give thought to Greinke, Hamilton and their oft-dicussed personality/make-up issues.
The stereotype of Greinke is that he has been and maybe still is affected by anxiety and depression problems, but that those problems are more or less under control. As such, few Angel fans seem to have any real qualms about bringing Greinke back. I imagine part of that is because we "know" Greinke. He's been an Angel and performed well without any incident.
Hamilton, however, is another story. To Angels fans, at least, he is a great player, but one who is fraught with risk because of the way his addiction and personality issues have affected him on the field, especially recently. I also imagine that part of that is because we "know" Hamilton, but know him as the best player on a hated rival and are therefore disinclined to give him the benefit of the doubt (to put it nicely).
The thing is, I'm not so sure they really are that different from a free agent investment perspective. I concede that Hamilton should be considered more risky since his much-reported "chewing tobacco withdrawal" incident so clearly affected him last season. Beyond that, I think it is debatable how different they really are.
Last week in his free agent preview, Keith Law stated he had little concern over Greinke because his issues were medical and not a "personality defect." Essentially, his problems could be corrected and controlled. As for Hamilton, his issues could also be considered medical. We hear all the time how addiction should be considered an illness. If you buy into that thinking, should we now give Hamilton the same leeway as Greinke? Addiction is treatable and potentially controllable, too, right? Of course, if you want to argue that addiction is a personality defect, I'm not going to fight you too hard on that either.
Again, as far as we know Greinke has his issues under more control than Hamilton does right now, so I get why he would be considered a safer investment. I just don't think it is such a difference that it can justify the notion of not wanting to go anywhere near Hamilton, a sentiment I've seen amongst many Angel fans. To me, at least, the more pertinent concerns with him are his long history of being slowed by nagging injuries and his eroding approach at the plate. The addiction history is still a concern, but a lesser one.
Maybe I'm wrong about this. In fact, I'm very willing to be wrong here. There isn't a great deal of history in baseball when it comes to giving contracts to guys like Greinke or Hamilton although I would argue Greinke is probably the rarer case. Just how much their baggage will affect their overall price tag will be interesting to see, especially since we know the Halos will be in heavy pursuit of Greinke. Heck, they might even get involved with Hamilton depending on how the off-season unfolds.