The Los Angeles Angels (of Anaheim) have stolen all the thunder that belonged to the Miami Marlins just 24 hours ago. All they had to do was spend upwards of $320 million to do it.
This morning, news broke that Albert Pujols had agreed to sign a contract with the Angels valued at a reported $250-260 million over 10 years. Less than an hour later, word started filtering out that former Ranger left hander C. J. Wilson would had also accepted an offer from the Angels. It is believed to a contract worth roughly $75 million over 5 years.
For the Rangers, this is very much a worst-case scenario. Not only will they be losing Wilson to a division rival, but that rival also added the best right handed hitter in a generation or more. To add insult to injury, Wilson’s signing will net the Rangers only a second-round pick (plus a supplemental pick) in next June’s draft. The Cardinals will get LA’s first-round choice by virtue of Pujols having a higher Type-A ranking.
If there was any question whether or not the Angels could challenge Texas in the AL West in 2012 and beyond, that question has been answered.
Certainly there is a long way to go before camp opens in February and the Rangers are believed to be very interested in Japanese right hander Yu Darvish (who will be posted today), so Texas still has a chance to respond to this news with a headline of their own.
The Angels are certainly not done making moves, either. With Pujols in the fold, LA now has a pair of first basemen that will be available. Mark Trumbo, who was pressed into duty last year and showed good power (but no ability to get on base) will be offered via trade and Kendrys Morales is now likely to be non-tendered and become a free agent. Morales missed the entire 2011 season and hasn’t played since breaking his leg during a celebration at home plate following a walk-off grand slam in 2010.
In addition to those two, the Angels, it’s believed, will also make either Dan Haren or Ervin Santana available via trade in order to create some financial relief. By adding Pujols and Wilson to a club that was already paying Vernon Wells better than $20 million per year, the Angels are projected to have a 2012 payroll of more than $160 million.
Just think about this: If you’re an Astros fan, how much are you looking forward to moving to the AL West in 2013? With Pujols and the Angels, the Rangers being the powerhouse that they’ve been, and all that pitching in Seattle (and they could still sign Prince Fielder), this is going to be one helluva division going forward.