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Breaking: Angels add Josh Hamilton for 5/$125MM

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Josh Hamilton

Josh Hamilton (Photo credit: Keith Allison)

The story just broke on twitter that the LA Angels have acquired All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton for 5 years and $125MM. This comes as a surprise to many, as it was thought that Hamilton would likely decide between the offensively starved Seattle Mariners or his former team, the Texas Rangers. In the end, Angels owner Arte Moreno took the money he would have spent on Zack Greinke and gave it to Hamilton.

In what looks on paper to be the most devastating lineup in the game, the Angels added one of the premiere offensive talents in the game when they acquired Hamilton. Leading up to the surprise signing, it seemed as though no team was going to offer above 4 years. But as we have seen before, all it takes is one team to set the market and that’s exactly what Moreno and the Angels did. With a $25MM AAV, the Angels will be paying north of $50MM annually for the next 5 years just on Pujols and Hamilton.

 

Angel Stadium of Anaheim's exteriors. Anaheim,...

Angel Stadium of Anaheim’s exteriors. Anaheim, CA, USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Angels biggest need was in starting pitching, but based on the way the market played out and the money required to acquire pitching, the Angels waited in the weeds and got one of the most tantalizing talents in baseball. As expected, there are mixed opinions about the Angels going 5 years for a player with such a mixed health track record as Hamilton. He has only averaged 129 games per season with the Rangers. There is also the difference in ballpark as well. Arlington is 11% easier for HR by LHH over course of the year. Angel stadium suppresses HR for LHH by 5%.

What we can all agree on is that the Angels are “all-in”. In 3-4 years, both Hamilton and Pujols will be well into their regression stages and staff ace Jered Weaver will be past his prime. All of these contracts will start to increase and the Angels will be in a tough spot. However it’s likely that would be the case regardless of the Hamilton signing, so Moreno decided now is their best chance. By adding Hamilton, the Angels have taken a big step in front of the Rangers as well. Don’t forget that by signing Hamilton the Angels take away the Rangers chance of getting him also. The Rangers just lost out on Zack Greinke and are in need of an impact starting pitcher.

Two things are likely with the result of this deal:

1. The trade market could be pretty active over the next couple of weeks as teams run out of options on the open market. You won’t have to look far, either. As the Hamilton signing means Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo are as good as gone.

Anibal Sanchez

Anibal Sanchez (Photo credit: VadimK)

2. Anibal Sanchez just likely improved his market value a ton by waiting for the market to play out. Maybe Michael Bourn just saved his big payday this offseason after it looked like he was out of options also. This will have a ripple effect on all teams looking to fill holes.

There’s the chance that Texas stands pat and simply moves Ian Kinsler to the outfield and slides Jurickson Profar into second. There’s also the chance that Nick Swisher takes Hamilton’s spot in the outfield. I question the motivation of this move on the Rangers end mostly due to Kinsler being a pretty close equivalent to Swisher and he’s already in-house. It will be interesting to see what corresponding move(s) happen out in LA to both acquire pitching, and to get rid of their outfield logjam. I wouldn’t put it past Moreno and the Angels to go out and sign Anibal Sanchez either since they’ve gone this far, why not go all the way.

One thing I know: Spring training can’t come fast enough!

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