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MLB

Texas GM: Josh Hamilton agrees to contract with Angels

| Thursday, Dec. 13, 2012, 3:22 p.m.
REUTERS
Texas Rangers' Josh Hamilton bats against the Oakland Athletics in the fifth inning of a game on Sept. 26. Hamilton is going from the Texas Rangers to the rival Los Angeles Angels. (REUTERS/File)

FORT WORTH, Texas — Josh Hamilton left the Texas Rangers on Thursday and agreed to a $125 million, five-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the slugging free-agent outfielder 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.

Speaking Thursday after a Rangers' holiday luncheon, Daniels said he had just been informed of the decision by Hamilton's agent, Michael Moye.

Daniels said he was disappointed “to some degree,” especially since the Rangers never got a chance to match any offer during the process, as they had expected — or at least get contacted before Hamilton agreed with another team.

“I never expected that he was going to tell us to the dollar what they had and a chance to offer it. Our full expectation, the phone call was going to be before he signed and certainly not after,” Daniels said. “Everybody's got to make their own calls.”

Hamilton joins a team that spent big last offseason to add first baseman Albert Pujols for $240 million and pitcher C.J. Wilson — Hamilton's Texas teammate — for $77.5 million. Yet, the Angels disappointed and failed to make the playoffs.

“He's a tremendous talent, and I think that they've shown they're going to be in on a lot of the best players out there,” Daniels said. “No sugarcoating it, we wanted the player back. And he signed with the Angels. They're better.”

Manager Mike Scioscia will have an interesting decision to make on where in the batting order to slot in Pujols, AL Rookie of the Year Mike Trout and Hamilton, a five-time All-Star and the 2010 AL MVP. He has a .260 career average at Angel Stadium with five home runs and 19 RBIs in 150 at-bats.

Daniels met with Moye last week at the winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., and had talked about the parameters of a new contract along with numbers. While Daniels wouldn't get into any specifics, he said his understanding is the deal with the Angels “is certainly more guaranteed money.”

The 31-year-old slugger was considered a risk by some teams because of his history of alcohol and substance abuse, which derailed his career before his surge with the Rangers over the past five seasons.

“Josh has done a lot for the organization, the organization has done a lot for Josh, a lot of things that aren't public and things of that nature,” Daniels said. “I'm a little disappointed how it was handled, but he had a decision to make, and he made it.”

Hamilton had a career-high 43 home runs and 128 RBIs in 148 games last season, when the Rangers struggled down the stretch and lost the division to Oakland on the final day of the regular season.

Texas then lost in the winner-take-all wild-card game against Baltimore, and Hamilton was lustily booed by Rangers fans after going 0-for-4 — twice striking out on three pitches, including an inning-ending out in the eighth with a runner in scoring position.

That came two days after Hamilton dropped a routine popup in the regular-season finale, a two-out tiebreaking miscue that allowed the A's to score two runs and go ahead to stay.

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