The Los Angeles Angels have landed a big free-agent fish in outfielder Josh Hamilton, and stole him from the division-rival Texas Rangers.
Texas general manager Jon Daniels confirmed Thursday that Hamilton left for the Angels. The deal is believed to be worth $125 million over five years, according to multiple reports.
Daniels told ESPN “that’s accurate,” and added that he had just been given the news from Hamilton’s agent, Mike Moye.
The Angels made a loud splash last December when they spent $240 million Albert Pujols and another $77.5 million on C.J. Wilson, but still missed the playoffs. Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, belted 43 homers and drove in 128 runs last season for the Rangers, one of the two AL Wild Card representatives. He batted .283.
The Angels has been active this offseason, sending pitcher Ervin Santana to the Kansas City Royals, and declining the option for pitcher Dan Haren. They signed pitchers Joe Blanton and reliever Sean Burnett. Last week, they missed out on pitcher Zack Greinke, who left the Angels to sign with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Hamilton’s former team had been trying to re-sign their All-Star. He had reportedly also met with the Seattle Mariners at the winter meetings.
In L.A., he’ll join a form an outfield with AL Rookie-of-the-Year Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos. It could displace Mark Trumbo, who could switch to third base or be dealt.
Hamilton, 31, has come back strong from a career nearly cut short by alcohol and substance abuse problems.
Daniels said he was disappointed that the Rangers wasn’t given a chance to match an offer.
“Our full expectation was that the phone call was going to be before he signed, certainly not after and giving us an idea,” Daniels said. “I thought we had additional conversations this week that had moved it along in a positive direction. Apparently not. It’s business and everybody has to make their own calls, and he has a family to look out for. I get it.
“Josh has done a lot for the organization. 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, but he had a decision to make and he made it.”