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Shocker: Josh Hamilton signs a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels

Dec 13, 2012, 1:55 PM EDT

The hot stove season always takes unexpected turns, and this afternoon it took the most unexpected turn we’ve seen in some time.  Seemingly out of nowhere the Los Angeles Angels swooped in and signed Josh Hamilton.  Legendary L.A. radio man Joe McDonnell had the first news that a deal with close. Within an hour it was reported by multiple sources, starting with ESPN Dallas, that the Angels and Hamilton had reached deal.  Fox’s Jon Paul Morosi was the first to report that it was a five-year deal. The money: $125 million.

This makes it two years running that the Angels have signed the best available free agent hitter, with Albert Pujols coming into the fold.  It also marks the second straight year that the Angels have signed away the Rangers top departing free agent, with C.J. Wilson heading to the Angels last year as well.  The year before that Mike Napoli made a circuitous journey from Anaheim to the Rangers, helping Texas win the pennant.

This is the best rivalry in baseball now and it’s not even close.  Heck, maybe the second best rivalry — or rivalry to be — involves the Angels and the Dodgers.  Each L.A. team is lapping the field in terms of big money signings, with each fighting to become or remain the darlings of the nation’s second largest media market. It had appeared that the newly-free-spending Dodgers were regaining that title for keeps, but with Hamilton in the fold down in Orange County, the war for the hearts and minds of L.A. baseball fans is ON.

With the caveat that, yes, we said this last year too, it’s probably safe to say that the Angels are the favorites in the AL West. Their potential lineup is fantastic:

Trout CF
Callaspo 3B
Pujols 1B
Hamilton RF
Morales DH
Trumbo LF
Kendrick 2B
Iannetta C
Aybar SS

Or Trumbo could play third base with Hamilton in right, Trout in left and Peter Bourjos in center. And Vernon Wells is still knocking around. The point is, no matter what Mike Scioscia does, he has plenty of options to choose from. More importantly, so does GM Jerry Dipoto, who could now deal Trumbo or Bourjos for pitching help. R.A. Dickey, anyone?

Not that we can crown anyone just yet.  Again, we thought the Angels won it all with the Pujols and Wilson signings last year, and that didn’t work out.  And let’s remember, with respect to players they have in common — Mike Napoli and C.J. Wilson — the Rangers have done a pretty good job of out-evaluating the Angels over the past couple of years. Of course, that was before the Angels turned over their front office.

But no matter what happens, the AL West just got a lot more fun, and it already was the most fun division in baseball.

111 Comments (Feed for Comments)
  1. mungman69 - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:41 PM

    ESPN says it’s a 5 year deal at $25,000,000 per year.

    • ireportyoudecide - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:10 PM

      Bring back Crystal Pepsi! It’s clear!

  2. Andrew Chapman - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    i have no words for this

  3. liamj55 - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:43 PM

    Paperlions is Keith Law’s caddy.

    • paperlions - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:45 PM


  4. gpatrick15 - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    I like the signing. If the Halos can start the season off right, I can see them having the best record in the league by seasons end. But, games aren’t won or lost on paper, and the Angels could use a bit more pitching in the rotation and the pen. The lineup itself, though, is pretty scary. Trout, Hamilton, and Pujols should drive opposing pitchers crazy.

  5. mdpickles - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:46 PM

    Sorry Rangers, time to rebuild and trade Nellie Cruz to the Phils.

  6. kgsmith - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Amazing, people are trash talking Josh for leaving Texas, whats funny is these are probably the same people that were posting “sign him” .. I don’t know that If I was a GM, I would have gone 5 years on him, however, the time that he is on the field, he is a threat.. Now LA has Trout, Pujols, and Hamilton.. wow.

  7. losangelesfan - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:48 PM

    Freeway series

    • gpatrick15 - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:50 PM

      Angels-Dodgers? Certainly possible.

  8. gpatrick15 - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:52 PM

    Once again, the Angels swoop in under the radar and get the big ticket item. I expected him to sign with Seatle. It would have been a good signing for them, they haven’t made a splash in years.

  9. dustinb18 - Dec 13, 2012 at 2:56 PM


    • thereisaparty - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:30 PM

      You mean Ruben?

      • xmatt0926x - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:26 PM

        You mean Amaro?

  10. uyf1950 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:03 PM

    WOW, that’s all I can say.

  11. richyballgame - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:14 PM

    Didn’t see that coming… If Trumbo is on the trade block,I hope the Mets trade for him.

  12. explodet - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:19 PM

    Designated…. Guy?

  13. sahyder1 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:23 PM

    Who keeps things more hush-hush? Jays or Angels? Wow. Love this move as an Angels fan. Can we go back in time and swap out Wilson for Greinke?

  14. losanginsight - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:28 PM

    Insanity in OC..expecting a different result by signing 30yr olds
    Ranger fans should be happy.

  15. dallasstars9 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:29 PM

    Just another Halo victory! And with the Astros joining the party in the west, that should mean more victories on paper too.

  16. astrofaninkc - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    So just reading between the lines here, what you’re saying is that Houston is screwed during divisional games. Got it.

    • dallasstars9 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:42 PM

      Not completely, the Mariners still play in the AL west.

      • jdillydawg - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:32 PM

        I smell rivalry!

  17. losanginsight - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:39 PM

    Cocaine is a hellava drug- Rick James

  18. vader000 - Dec 13, 2012 at 3:53 PM

    Jerry Dipoto just completely b&$*% slapped Jon Daniels off his bar stool before proceeding to the corner where Jack Zduriencik was already cowering in the fetal position. “Looks like you’ll have plenty of money for Chone Figgins now…. oh sorry I meant Bourn…. BWAHAHAHA” said Dipoto before kicking him in the ribs a few times for good measure. He then glared menacingly and pointed at Jeff Luhnow, “I’ll be back for you soon enough, Meat.” he growled before leaving in dogged pursuit of Billy Beane who had escaped minutes beforehand laughing maniacally.

  19. maxabrams1704 - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:06 PM

    So not only are you giving the AL West to the Angels, but you’re calling the Texas-Angels rivalry the best? Who won the AL West last year? And not on some random, winning all your 1 run games type thing, the A’s pythagorean record was very close to the real thing. The A’s have to be the most ignored, disrespected team in baseball compared to their actual results on the field. How does another slugger make up for the fact that the Angels’ 3-4 starters are Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton? Let’s give a little respect to the AL West Champs, a team with the payroll equal to Hamtilon and Pujols’ contracts combined, the Oakland Athletics

    • vinloubar - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:31 PM

      Man, I wish I could click the thumbs-up button a million times for that post, maxabrams1704.

  20. jdillydawg - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:24 PM

    Thank God for the Astros. Without them, the Mariners wouldn’t have anyone to compete with for last place.


  21. gibbyfan - Dec 13, 2012 at 4:46 PM

    the Rangers have done a pretty good job of out-evaluating the Angels over the past couple of years.

    Sad to say Craig but with this kind of money it will be less and less about out evaluating,managing,strategy,scouting or anything else that the game used to be at least somewhat about………..might as well just follow the business news and take enjoyment from who has amassed the greatest fortune from year ro to year…………something pure has been lost as well as any semblence of competitve balance. Of course one solution could be to arrange divisions by wealth of ownership rather than geography..

    • thereisaparty - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:44 PM

      The Rangers have a TV deal worth billions (starting in 2014 I believe). DFW is the fourth largest MSA in the nation. Oakland won the division last year on tiny payroll. The Rays are perennial contenders in the AL East, which was nearly won by Baltimore and their tiny payroll last year. There is still competition.

    • tashkalucy - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:34 PM


      You’re crying poor about the Rangers?

  22. stercuilus65 - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:35 PM

    Josh in LA? LOL
    He will be on the DL by June and in rehab by July.

    • thereisaparty - Dec 13, 2012 at 6:09 PM

      Anaheim sure is a rough place. It will be dangerous for him since he has never been there before and every person in CA will be forcing drugs upon him.

    • tashkalucy - Dec 13, 2012 at 7:38 PM

      Reactionary comment. Time to grow up.

      LA TV leads the country in local ads for dependency rehab (as well as for shrinks and lawyers).

      There may well be more recovering dependency people in SoCal then anywhere else in the world.

      Mr. Hamilton will be set-up with some good people. He will have a strong support group and some of the best professional people to help him stay on course.

      • stercuilus65 - Dec 15, 2012 at 3:34 AM

        LOL so now it’s the “Anaheim” Angels again? Of course he never drive over to LA LOL.Time to take your heads out of the sand. I mean I know Texas has some celebrities like say Buck Owens but he’s going to be surrounded by the Hollywood crowd and all the seedy hangers on and pushers. There is no place like LA He couldn’t stay straight in Arlington he will have no chance in LA.That is the truth even if you can’t stand to hear it..

  23. fearthehoody - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:44 PM

    Now lets watch the Mariners trade their best prospects for others trash to make up for this!!!

  24. dowhatifeellike - Dec 13, 2012 at 5:50 PM

    That’s a big commitment for a streaky hitter with off-field problems. I didn’t think he’d get more than 75 and 4.

  25. mackie66 - Dec 13, 2012 at 8:41 PM

    I agree, the Angles are the team to beat.

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