Hamilton's Angels deal surprises Rangers

Josh Hamilton's deal with the Angels on Thursday comes as a surprise to the Rangers.

FORT WORTH, Texas — The normally pleasant Texas Rangers media luncheon took a turn late Thursday afternoon.

That's when Texas general manager Jon Daniels ducked out of the banquet room at the Omni Fort Worth Hotel and took a call from Mike Moye, Josh Hamilton's agent.

Moye informed the club that Hamilton had agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Angels. He's leaving the Rangers after five seasons — and leaving the club without a chance to make a final pitch, something they hoped would be the case.   

"This wasn't like restricted free agency in the NFL with an offer sheet," Daniels said. "I never expected he was going to tell us to the dollar what they had and a chance to offer it. Our full expectation was that the phone call was going to be before he signed, certainly not after, kind of giving us an idea."

Daniels said that, last week, Hamilton had indicated to the Rangers that it might be time to move on, but both sides were still talking.

"I'm not going to get into the reasons, technically, why," Daniels said of his optimism that something could still have gotten done. "We had additional conversations this week that I thought had it moved it along in a positive direction — but apparently not."

Hamilton's deal with the Angels is for five years and $125 million, reported Thursday. Daniels said the Rangers had an offer on the table for Hamilton, but the guaranteed money was not as much as the Angels are paying.

"We talked to them about a concept in Nashville (at the winter meetings)," Daniels said. "It wasn't a final offer, but it was an idea of something we wanted to do. We also indicated we would do something different and respond. My sense is they had a deadline and accepted the deal."

While Daniels wouldn't get into specifics of the Texas offer to Hamilton, he said the club hesitated going longer in terms of years for reasons he didn't want to divulge.

Daniels thought the relationship that Hamilton had built with the club over five seasons that saw him win an MVP award, help take the club to two World Series, endure two alchohol-related relapses and numerous injuries would have meant more to Hamilton before he made his decision to leave.

That turned out not to be the case.

"Josh has done a lot for the organization," Daniels said. "The organization has done a lot for Josh. A lot of things that aren't public and things of that nature. I'm a little disappointed in how it was handled. He had a decision to make, and he made it."

Daniels knows the road to winning the AL West just got tougher for Texas. The Angels signed Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson last offseason and missed the playoffs. Adding Hamilton to the lineup makes them that much more formidable.

"They were a great team on paper beforehand," Daniels said. "They're a great team on paper now. They're going to be very good."

The Hamilton news continues an offseason of misses for Texas. The Rangers have lost free agents Hamilton, Mike Napoli and Koji Uehara. They also were interested in Zack Greinke, who signed with Los Angeles Dodgers, and James Shields, who was traded to Kansas City. The club also traded veteran Michael Young to Philadelphia last weekend.

Now the Rangers have to move on.

"We talked all along that we want to play some of our own guys," Daniels said. "We were hoping to do it alongside Josh. I like the idea of the young players playing with some of our established guys. We have a very good nucleus, but it is what it is. He's a big part of the club the last few years, and now he's on the other side."