Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - You didn't think Los Angeles Angelsowner Arte Moreno was going to let the crosstown Dodgers steal all theheadlines this offseason did you?
The Angels shocked the baseball world last December when they emerged as themystery team in the Albert Pujols sweepstakes. Well, Moreno and the Angelshave done it again, swooping in out of nowhere to land the best bat on themarket this year.
On Thursday, the Angels signed former American League MVP to a five-year dealworth a reported $125 million.
As AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout tweeted, "wow".
I have said for awhile now that the Angels were waiting in the wings forsomething. It's been Moreno's style since being shutout completely in the freeagent market of 2010 that saw him lose out on Carl Crawford and CliffLee among others.
But, all along I thought the player they were being stealth on was Greinke.Hamilton never even crossed my mind.
Now he joins a lineup that already has the best young player in the game inTrout, as well as the three-time NL MVP Pujols. With all due respect to PrinceFielder and Miguel Cabrera, the Angels now possess the best 3-4 combo in thegame.
Of course, though, there is more to Hamilton than just what happens on thefield. Otherwise, we'd be talking about a contract probably double whatHamilton received on Thursday.
Everyone knows the story. Selected first overall by the Tampa Bay Devil Raysin 1999, Hamilton was injured early in his minor league career and fell into apattern of drug abuse shortly thereafter that ultimately got him suspendedfrom the game.
Upon reinstatement, Tampa eventually cut ties with the outfielder in 2006,leaving him exposed to the Rule 5 Draft, where he was selected by the ChicagoCubs before being moved to the Cincinnati Reds later in the day.
Hamilton shined for the Reds in 2007, but was dealt to the Rangers thefollowing winter. Hamilton's comeback really took off in Arlington, as hebecame an All-Star in 2008, stealing the show with a breathtaking performancein the Home Run Derby at Yankee Stadium that year.
The 31-year-old slugger has had a problem staying on the field for most of hiscareer, but put it all together in 2010 and won an MVP award, as he hit acareer-high .359 with 32 home runs and 100 RBI. This past year he remainedrelatively healthy and swatted a career-best 43 home runs with 128 RBI.
All along Texas thought it would have a chance to match any offer forHamilton, but apparently that never happened, as Texas general manager JonDaniels was informed of the move by a telephone call from Hamilton'srepresentatives.
Losing Hamilton is bad enough, but losing him to a division rival is evenworse, especially when that same team signed your best pitcher in C.J. Wilsonjust last offseason.
So, what's next for the Angels?
With Hamilton, Trout, Peter Bourjos, Mark Trumbo and Vernon Wells that seemslike a few outfielders too many by my count. Rumors are already starting tofly that the Halos could now make a pitch to the New York Mets for reigning NLCy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey.
Perhaps a Bourjos package with righty Garret Richards gets that done?
It's been a ho-hum offseason so far, but it finally looks as if the HotStove is starting to get cranked up.
And oh yea, pitchers and catchers report in less than two months.