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Big League Stew

The winners and losers of the Josh Hamilton deal

Kevin Kaduk
Big League Stew

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The dust is still settling on Josh Hamilton's surprise five-year, $125 million deal with the Los Angeles Angels. It's not too early, however, to do some quick scorekeeping after Thursday afternoon's action.


The Angels lineup: Cut through all of the noise that surrounds this deal and the simple fact is that the Angels just added an AL MVP to a roster that includes one three-time winner (Albert Pujols) and is topped by an outfielder (Mike Trout) with the potential to win multiple MVP awards after being snubbed for one last month. Hamilton brings a left-handed bat to a lineup in dire need of one and gifts Angels fans with the third must-see at-bat every time the team goes through the lineup.

Arte Moreno: "What Arte wants, Arte gets" is quickly becoming a baseball maxim and there isn't a baseball fan out there who'd turn down Moreno's stewardship for their favorite team. Between his personal wealth, $3 billion television deal and win-at-all costs attitude, he has become the Mark Cuban of baseball (minus the motormouth).

[Related: Josh Hamilton signing escalates Angels-Rangers rivalry]

Moreno's win runs deeper than his public image, though. After writing a 10-year, $250 million check to Pujols last winter, he just captured this year's top free agent for half the money and half the years. He and the Angels may have just landed a big bargain.

Southern California baseball: New York and Boston are so yesterday. Between Moreno's spree the past few seasons and the Dodgers' newfound spending ways, Los Angeles baseball fans will have a wealth of talent to appreciate each summer night. Hamilton just signed for more money than he could ever spend, yet he owns only the fourth-largest deal in Los Angeles — a position that will likely sink lower once Trout and Clayton Kershaw get paid.

Joe McDonnell: In a hot stove rumor market that's dominated by names like Tim Brown, Ken Rosenthal, Jon Morosi, Buster Olney and Jon Heyman, the writer for Fox Sports West scooped everyone by first mentioning the two sides were in talks on Thursday morning.

[Y! Sports Radio: Tim Brown breaks down the new Angels lineup]

Vernon Wells: Nope, there's still no room for him in the outfield. But he's still going to be making Josh Hamilton money ($24.6 million) each of the next two seasons.


Josh Hamilton: It seems ridiculous to suggest anyone can be in this category after landing a nine-figure deal. But Hamilton's many question marks meant that he couldn't squeeze the market for six or seven years, which kept the deal's total value well below what Pujols and Prince Fielder garnered last offseason.

Texas Rangers: If you want to place them in the "winners" category, you have a good case. GM Jon Daniels and the Rangers didn't rise to their current spot in the game by handing out big contracts to players on the wrong side of 30 (Adrian Beltre excepted), and they still have a strong farm system that will help maintain their success. The Rangers aren't going anywhere.

There's still reason for Texas to hang its head, though, because it's not as if Hamilton jumped to a team in another division or league. He signed with the Rangers' biggest rival and has the potential to hurt Texas 19 games each year. Hamilton also represented the team's last chance to do something big this offseason with the Zack Greinke signing and potential Justin Upton signing not panning out. Anyone have a number for Sandy Alderson?

Seattle Mariners: With Hamilton's lukewarm market, this seemed like a good chance for Seattle to finally get over its financial and geographic locations and make a big acquisition for its power-starved lineup. Not only did that not happen, but the Mariners had to sit back and watch their divisional rivals in Orange County get richer. The Nick Swisher fantasies really aren't going to be as fun for Mariners fans to play through.

[Related: Jeff Passan's 2012 MLB ultimate free-agent tracker]

The Los Angeles Angels' budget: Everyone said the contracts for Pujols and C.J. Wilson would handcuff Jerry DiPoto in future years and it clearly hasn't. Nor has the dead weight of Vernon Wells' deal. At least not on Thursday. But as Yankees fans can tell Halo fans, eventually these big deals are going to weigh on the franchise as the players march into their mid-30s. The Angels will have to win a World Series to make this all worthwhile, which means Los Angeles now plays host to the the two teams shouldering the biggest expectations in baseball.

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