The Los Angeles Angels are in agreement on a five-year contract worth $125 million with free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton, major-league sources told FOXSports.com.
Joe McDonnell of FOX Sports West first reported the sides were in serious talks Thursday, as the Angels shocked the baseball industry by signing away a superstar from the rival Texas Rangers.
The Angels met with Hamilton quietly during last week’s winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., one source told FOXSports.com. And Angels owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino visited Josh Hamilton at his home in Texas earlier this week, according to sources.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told Dallas-area media Thursday that he was “disappointed” to not get a phone call from Hamilton or his agent, Michael Moye, before a decision was reached. But Moye told FOXSports.com later Thursday, “Neither Josh nor Moye Sports ever told the Rangers they would be given the right to match offers received. Any media reports to the contrary are inaccurate.”
The Angels and Rangers are now challenging Red Sox-Yankees and Dodgers-Giants as the sport’s most heated intraleague rivalry at present. Hamilton will return to Rangers Ballpark for the first weekend of the regular season, April 5-7, in what is sure to be a highly anticipated ticket
Hamilton becomes the second elite hitter to join Angels in as many offseasons. Albert Pujols left the Cardinals to sign a 10-year, $240 million deal with the Angels a little more than one year ago.
The Angels released a statement shortly after news of the signing broke, saying, “As per team policy and MLB rules, the Angels will not comment on the status of any contract negotiations with players. 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.”
The next question is how the Angels would arrange their lineup around Hamilton. If Hamilton plays left field alongside phenom Mike Trout, the Angels would need to move Mark Trumbo to third base or right field. If Trumbo stays in the outfield, that would mean reduced playing time for Vernon Wells and Peter Bourjos.
Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto also could trade designated hitter Kendrys Morales to open up DH at-bats for Wells and Hamilton.
One way or another, the Angels are responding to their third-place disappointment of 2012 with one of the more startling moves in recent baseball history.