Josh Hamilton leaving Texas Rangers for Los Angeles Angels

ANAHEIM, Calif. — One day after Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto said he didn't think a major move was "imminent, pressing or required," the team made one of the most major of the offseason.

The Angels persuaded free agent outfielder Josh Hamilton to leave the Rangers for a five-year, $125 million deal, their third big-money offseason signing in as many years.

Last year first baseman Albert Pujols traveled West for $240 million along with pitcher C.J. Wilson — Hamilton's Texas teammate — for $77.5 million. Still, the Angels failed to make the playoffs for the third straight season.

They bulked up their pitching staff earlier this offseason, adding starters Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson, and relievers Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson. But owner Arte Moreno pulled off a coup by getting Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP.

Since the contract wasn't final, the Angels didn't comment publicly. Rangers GM Jon Daniels said Hamilton's agent told him the deal had been reached.

"Josh had indicated recently … he felt it might be time to move on, but we were still talking," said Daniels, who wouldn't elaborate on Hamilton's thinking. "We had additional conversations this week that I thought had moved it along in a positive direction, but apparently not."

Hamilton was given much blame for the Rangers' losing a five-game AL West lead with nine games remaining, and later CEO Nolan Ryan had to publicly rebut reports Hamilton had quit.

Texas had hoped to re-sign Hamilton, who led it to consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. The Rangers made a $13.3 million qualifying offer at the Nov. 2 deadline, ensuring they would get a draft-pick compensation if Hamilton signed elsewhere. They will receive an extra selection after the first round of June's amateur draft. The deal costs the Angels a first-round selection in the draft.

The Angels are taking a risk with Hamilton, 31, the first overall pick in the 1999 draft by the Rays. A well-chronicled addiction to drugs and alcohol derailed his career for several years beginning in 2001, and he has had at least two public relapses of his drinking, the most recent in February of this year.

For much of his Rangers tenure, the club had a coach, Johnny Narron, stay close to Hamilton as an "accountability coach."

Hamilton also has had trouble staying healthy over the past few years. He has been healthy enough to record at least 500 at-bats in only three of his six major-league seasons. During those seasons, he never hit fewer than 30 homers or accumulated fewer than 100 RBIs.

Red Sox: The team agreed to terms with right-hander Ryan Dempster on a two-year contract worth $26.5 million, the Associated Press reported. GM Ben Cherington would not comment at a news conference to announce the signing of outfielder Shane Victorino, who agreed to a $39 million, three-year deal last week.

twins: The team finalized a $10 million, two-year contract with free agent right-hander Kevin Correia to fill a rotation spot after its starters posted the second-worst ERA in the majors last season.

yankees: The team and Ichiro Suzuki were closing in on a deal that would guarantee the outfielder between $12 million and $13 million likely over two years, the Associated Press reported.

bonds case: A federal appeals court will hear Barry Bonds' appeal of his obstruction of justice conviction in February. The career home runs leader was convicted in April 2011 of one felony obstruction count for giving an evasive, rambling reply at a 2003 grand jury appearance when asked whether he received drugs that required a syringe.

Josh Hamilton leaving Texas Rangers for Los Angeles Angels 12/13/12 [Last modified: Thursday, December 13, 2012 10:09pm]

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