Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Slugger Hamilton turns back on Texas, signs with Angels

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FORT WORTH, Texas -- Josh Hamilton left the Texas Rangers on Thursday and agreed to a $125 million, five-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the slugging free-agent outfielder had reached a deal with the AL West rival Angels. Two people familiar with the talks disclosed the amount and length of the contract, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not yet final.

Hamilton's $25 million average salary matches Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard for the second-highest in baseball, trailing only Alex Rodriguez's $27.5 million average with the New York Yankees.

Texas had hoped to re-sign the 2010 AL Most Valuable Player, who led the Rangers to consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.

Speaking Thursday after a Rangers' holiday luncheon, Daniels said he had just been informed of the decision by Hamilton's agent, Michael Moye.

Daniels said he was disappointed "to some degree," especially since the Rangers never got a chance to match any offer during the process, as they had expected. Or at least get contacted before Hamilton agreed with another team.

"I never expected that he was going to tell us to the dollar what they had, and a chance to offer it. Our full expectation, the phone call was going to be before he signed, and certainly not after," Daniels said. "Everybody's got to make their own calls."

Hamilton joins a team that spent big last off-season to add first baseman Albert Pujols for $240 million and pitcher C.J. Wilson -- Hamilton's Texas teammate -- for $77.5 million. Yet, the Angels disappointed and failed to make the playoffs.

"He's a tremendous talent and I think that they've shown they're going to be in on a lot of the best players out there," Daniels said. "No sugarcoating it, we wanted the player back. And he signed with the Angels. They're better."

The agreement came days after the Los Angeles Dodgers added pitchers Zack Greinke and Ryu Hyun-jin, boosting their payroll over $200 million.

Greinke, another off-season target, said he chose the Dodgers over the Rangers.

Hamilton's addition to the Angels outfield means Mark Trumbo could be moved to third base or traded. Peter Bourjos and Vernon Wells also are among the outfielders competing for time unless a trade is made.

Manager Mike Scioscia will have an interesting decision on where in the order to slot in Pujols, AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout and Hamilton, a five-time all-star.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 14, 2012 C7

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