Jerry Dipoto liked the Angels lineup last week, which is why he insisted all winter that there was no pressing need to tweak it with new faces. Of course, Josh Hamilton is more than a tweak. As the Angels general manager saw it, Hamilton provided such a difference-making bat that he was worth the investment, worth the risk. "Josh really makes our lineup imposing," he said Saturday, after Hamilton pulled on an Angels jersey for the first time since agreeing to a five-year, $125 million deal. "If we get these guys on the field and they stay healthy and they produce the way they are capable of producing, it's a heck of an offense, one to nine, with balance with right and left. It also gives us the flexibility to go out and answer other issues as the season moves along." The Angels are now considered by some to be World Series favorites, as is, and Hamilton's presence gives Dipoto at least one more card to play. He now has an extra position player he can trade to fill a hole somewhere else. For now, though, the Angels were simply celebrating another landmark free-agent signing. Hundreds of Angels fans gathered outside ESPNZone at Downtown Disney to greet Hamilton, who entered on a red carpet and signed autographs and posed for pictures before his introductory news conference. Hamilton, the 2010 American League MVP, chose the Angels after a very quiet courting process that began at the winter meetings and culminated in a rush earlier this week. It was enough to convince him to leave the Texas Rangers after becoming one of the sport's biggest stars during five seasons. Hamilton said he gave the Rangers "the first shot" to keep him, but as the winter wore on and the Rangers made little effort to keep him, he began to feel like it was time to move on. Hamilton's wife, Katie, compared it to dating. "If you are going to be with someone, you make it official," Katie said. "You let them know you want to be with them. They let us date other teams." The Angels' first date with Hamilton, so to speak, came during the winter meetings in Nashville. Hamilton and his wife went to lunch with Dipoto and Angels assistant general manager Scott Servais, who worked in the Rangers' front office before coming to the Angels. The sides kept in touch over the next couple weeks, all along avoiding any leaks of the Angels' interest in Hamilton. "We just kept it very quiet because we feel that's the best way to do business," Dipoto said.
Hamilton's bat proved too big for Angels to pass up
Orange County Register | Dec 17