Angels agree to five-year deal with Hamilton
By Alden Gonzalez / 12/13/12 3:05 PM ET
ANAHEIM -- Josh Hamilton, believe it or not, is headed to the Angels.
MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reported on Thursday that Hamilton has informed the Rangers he's headed to Southern California, signing what Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network first reported to be a five-year, $125 million contract.
"As per team policy and MLB rules, the Angels will not comment on the status of any contract negotiations with players," the club said in a statement. "With that said, we continue to look for ways to improve our team. As soon as we have something formal to announce, we will do so."
It seemed like the Angels were mostly done for the offseason, acquiring two starting pitchers (Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton) and two back-end relievers (Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett) to push their payroll to about $140 million.
But Angels owner Arte Moreno, one offseason removed from signing Albert Pujols to a $240 million deal, made yet another splash.
Hamilton's deal, which comes with a reported average annual value of $25 million, would push the Angels' payroll to a franchise-record of about $165 million, after finishing at $159 million last year. It also counters the Dodgers' signing of Zack Greinke, whom the Angels wanted to bring back, and greatly cripples the division-rival Rangers.
The 31-year-old Hamilton won the American League MVP Award in 2010 and has long been considered one of baseball's best all-around players, hitting .313 while averaging 33 homers, 107 RBIs the last three seasons.
With the Angels, Hamilton's left-handed bat seemingly fits perfectly behind Pujols in the cleanup spot. His presence also frees up the possibility to acquire another starting pitcher via trade, with the likes of Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales suddenly becoming expendable. Mets knuckleballer R.A. Dickey could be an option.