For the second consecutive winter, the Los Angeles Angels have worked quietly and then struck a deal with the most prolific player on the market. Last year, it was Albert Pujols, who was signed to a 10 year $240 million contract. The 2012 Angels didn’t start well, got hot when Mike Trout was finally called to the Major Leagues, and weren’t able to catch the division winning A’s and Wildcard Rangers. The Angels finished with 89 wins and an offense that scored the third most runs in the American League. While they were top-four in all three slash line categories, they were 7th in home runs. It was their pitching that disappointed as Jered Weaver was the only starter to post an above average season.
The Angels started the winter by ridding themselves of salary from the disappointing pitching staff. Dan Haren’s option was declined and he was set free. Ervin Santana was dumped off to the Kansas City Royals. The Angels were said to be in pursuit of Zack Greinke, which made sense considering their need for pitching and how well he performed for them in his 13 starts after being acquired at the trade deadline. But, Greinke went to the Dodgers, which left both the Texas Rangers and Angels in need of a big piece and with money to spend.
The Angels once again surprised, this time signing Josh Hamilton to a five year, $125 million contract. While they still need a starting pitcher or two, this is a deal that makes sense in every conceivable way for the Angels. It is a deal that not only weakens the Rangers, but makes the Angels lineup one of the best in the sport. And, they get one of the most special talents the sport has ever seen.