In less than a week the two biggest most tantalizing free agents have fallen to the lavish Los Angeles franchises. Not to be outdone by their state neighbor Dodgers, the Angels went out and signed Josh Hamilton to a five-year $125 million contract mere days after the Dodgers lured Zack Greinke away.
For the second straight off-season, the Angels have made a splash snagging the best position player from the free agent pool. Hamilton will join an already lethal offensive attack of Albert Pujols, Mike Trout and Mark Trumbo giving the Angels arguably one of the best offensive lineups in the game.
Josh Hamilton was rumored to have gauged interest from the Seattle Mariners, Philadelphia Phillies and the Texas Rangers before deciding on the friendly confines of Gene Autry Way in Anaheim.
The perennial MVP candidate does not come without some reservations as Hamilton can be injury prone due to his style of play and his body makeup as well he is a recovering addict who requires a special assistant to keep him on the straight and narrow.
The move also makes the likes of Kendry Morales and Peter Bourjos expendable in their search to strengthen their starting five in the rotation. The Angels have been linked to R.A. Dickey and could dangle Morales and Bourjos as trade bait.
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The signing closes the book on Josh Hamilton days as a Texas Ranger. Hamilton spent the last five seasons as a Ranger and really established himself as the superstar he was projected to be when selected first overall by the Devil Rays in 1999. Hamilton crushed 142 home runs in five seasons with the Rangers on his way to five All-Star selections and an MVP title in 2010.
Even more interesting is where the Texas Rangers will look to replenish the offence that Hamilton added to their lineup. Former Yankee Nick Swisher is the next best outfield free agent and doesn’t quite bring the same numbers as the Hambone at this stage of his career. The Rangers were rumored to be in on Justin Upton however those trade talks seem quiet after the Diamondbacks monster three team deal with the Reds and Indians.
The Rangers also missed out on Zack Greinke so it is anyone’s guess where Nolan Ryan and company will look to now that the two big free agents are signed sealed and delivered to rival teams.
The only guarantee is that California baseball fans are in for one hell of a ride come April with the respective lineup the Angels and Dodgers are quickly assembling. Could be in for a west coast World Series.