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Rumor Mill: Hamilton's troubles could make Allen Craig a fit with Angels

Could the Anaheim Angels take another step toward becoming the St. Louis Cardinals West?

That's what Boston Globe columnist Nick Cafardo speculated could happen in the wake of Josh Hamilton's drug and alcohol relapse.

Craig could easily be had from the Boston Red Sox who have a huge stockpile of outfielders, not only giving the Angels a much-needed middle of the order bat. But the move would also reunite the heart of the batting order of the 2011 World Series champions.

While Albert Pujols was the obvious superstar of the Redbirds during his stay in St. Louis and David Freese got all the glory with his Game 6 tying triple and winning home run, Craig was a very productive major league hitter prior to the 2014 season -- and could be a heckuva find if he returns to form.

Prior to 2014, Craig was a .306 career hitter with two 90-plus RBI seasons in his four MLB campaigns.

There's a lot of speculation that Craig's lousy 2014 was due to the lingering foot/ankle injury he suffered late in the 2013 season that limited him in the playoffs and then the World Series against Boston. At 30 years old, he seems to young to have just "lost it." So it's a fair gamble that an accomplished, professional hitter could rediscover his stroke.

While, on it's face, it may appear that a trade for Craig is an expensive solution for a temporary problem, word out of Anaheim is that Hamilton's issue could very likely be the last straw for the Halos. This isn't going likely a case of going to rehab for a couple of weeks and then making a triumphant return.

Anaheim tried to pawn off Hamilton's contract on his former team -- and its division rival -- the Texas Rangers only to be shot down. Now the club is faced with the very real prospect of cutting a player who is owed $83 million over the next three years.

So, on one hand, taking on Craig's $38.5-million contract is a big gamble. But, compared to what the Angels have spent on Hamilton -- not to mention pujols' $254-million contract -- it's a relative bargain.

Craig's deal would fit neatly into the Halo's long term plans because his contract covers the same term as Hamilton's pact. In three years, both deals will be up and Anaheim can start fresh with it's next generation of overpaid players.

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