The Los Angeles Angels, confirmed by GM Art Moreno, have signed the top free agent in this offseason’s class, Josh Hamilton. After an inconsistent 2012 season (.285, 43HR, 128RBI) the 2010 MVP signed a deal worth $125 million over the next 5 seasons, a value of $25 million per year. This deal shocks the baseball free agent landscape and for the second year in a row the Angels are in the middle of the frenzy. Last offseason they signed Albert Pujols to a 10-year $240 million contract. The Angels, fourth in payroll on Opening Day last season finished 3rd in the AL west and with an 89-73 record, 3rd in the American League Wild Card as well. With a season that center field phenom Mike Trout had last year (2012: .326, 20HR, 83RBI, 49SB) and earning the rookie of the year award, if he can put up numbers close to what he had the Angels are in for a very good season.This deal, as you can expect, shakes up the AL West division. A division won by the A’s, who won on the last day of the season last year.
Josh Hamilton was also in talks with the Seattle Mariners, the Philadelphia Phillies, and the New York Yankees.
What this does to the Angels lineup is simple, Josh Hamilton will protect Pujols in the 4th spot of the lineup. A lineup that now has to figure out what to do with All Star power hitting star Mark Trumbo. Trumbo coming off of a monster second season in the league struggled mightily at 3B at the beginning of the 2012 season will either be traded or otherise benched if his fielding does not improve. Trumbo, after his mistakes became a common sight at Angels games last season, was moved to the outfield succeeded by Alberto Callaspo. I’m sure Angels manager Mike Scioscia will have no problem sitting Callaspo for Trumbo. The rest of the infield has Erick Aybar at SS, Howie Kendrick at 2B, Albert Pujols at 1st, Kendrys Morales DH and Chris Ianetta doing the catching. The outfield now has two legitimate starters with Trout and Hamilton.The other starting position will be fought between speedy outfielder Peter Borjos and the aging Vernon Wells.
The Angels pitching staff will be led by Jared Weaver who went 20-5 with a 2.81 ERA last season. Weaver, along with CJ Wilson and Garrett Richards, will be joined by the newly signed Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton in the 5-man rotation in 2013.
Look for an incredible American League West race in the 2013 season.