LOS ANGELES (AP) - Josh Hamilton is heading to the Los Angeles Angels, lured with a $125 million, five-year contract that steps up the migration of high-profile stars to Southern California.
The Angels persuaded the free-agent outfielder to leave the Texas Rangers with their third big-money offseason signing in as many years. Hamilton heads to Anaheim after first baseman Albert Pujols came West for $240 million last December 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 year.
They had bulked up their pitching staff earlier in the offseason with the additions of pitchers Joe Blanton and Tommy Hanson, along with relievers Sean Burnett and Ryan Madson.
General manager Jerry Dipoto had said Wednesday that he didn’t think a major move was “imminent or required.”
“It’s a great day to be an Angel/Angel fan!” Wilson said on his Twitter account.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said Hamilton 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.
Since the contract wasn’t final, the Angels didn’t comment publicly. The team said in a statement, “We continue to look for ways to improve our team. As soon as we have something formal to announce, we will do so.”
Moreno and manager Mike Scioscia didn’t immediately respond to phone messages.
The Angels allowed free agent outfielder Torii Hunter to sign with Detroit, and he reacted to his former team’s latest move on his Twitter account.
“I was told money was tight but I guess the Arte had money hidden under a Mattress. Business is business but don’t lie,” Hunter wrote.
He followed up with the comment, “Great signing for the Angels. One of the best players in baseball.”
Texas had hoped to re-sign Hamilton, who led the Rangers to consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011. They made a $13.3 million qualifying offer at the Nov. 2 deadline, ensuring the team draft-pick compensation if Hamilton signed elsewhere. The Rangers will receive an extra selection immediately following the first round of June’s amateur draft. The deal cost the Angels a first-round selection in the draft.