Angels Sign Josh Hamilton for 5 Years, $125 Million, ESPN Says

The Los Angeles Angels and outfielder Josh Hamilton have agreed on a $125 million, five- year contract, adding another former Most Valuable Player to Major League Baseball’s best hitting team from last season, ESPN reported.

The American League MVP in 2010 with the Texas Rangers, Hamilton met with his former club as well as the Seattle Mariners before agreeing with the Angels, the network said yesterday, citing an unidentified person familiar with the deal.

It also quoted Rangers General Manager Jon Daniels as saying he had been told by Hamilton’s agent that the player was moving to the Angels. Angels spokesman Tim Mead declined to comment on the report in a telephone interview.

“As per team policy and MLB rules, the Angels will not comment on the status of any contract negotiations with players,” the Angels said in a statement. “With that said, we continue to look for ways to improve our team. As soon as we have something formal to announce, we will do so.”

Hamilton, 31, joins an offense featuring three-time National League MVP Albert Pujols, who signed with the Angels before last season on a 10-year deal worth between $250 and $260 million, and 21-year-old outfielder Mike Trout, who won AL Rookie of the Year this season while finishing second in MVP voting. The Angels batted .274 last season, the best in baseball, and scored 767 runs, third in the AL behind the Rangers and New York Yankees.

“Wow,” Trout posted yesterday on his Twitter account shortly after ESPN published its report.

Adding Hamilton would raise the Angels’ payroll to about $165 million, MLB.com said. The Los Angeles Dodgers announced the signing of All-Star pitcher Zack Greinke this week in a move that has them poised to open the 2013 season with the highest payroll in major league history, at more than $220 million.

World Series

Hamilton has batted .305 with 142 home runs and 506 runs batted in during five seasons with the Rangers, helping Texas reach the World Series in 2010 and 2011. Last season, he hit .285 with a career-best 43 home runs and 128 RBIs.

The first pick in the 1999 major league draft, Hamilton’s early career was interrupted by drug and alcohol abuse. The Rangers hired a special coach to help Hamilton off the field and he has had a number of public relapses since his major league debut in 2007, including a case in February in which he acknowledged having several drinks in a Dallas restaurant and lying to a teammate about his actions.

To contact the reporter on this story: Eben Novy-Williams in New York at enovywilliam@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Sillup at msillup@bloomberg.net

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