Update, 2:25 p.m. ET: The Angels have reportedly agreed to a five-year deal with Josh Hamilton.
The Los Angeles Angels did not appear to be in the Albert Pujols sweepstakes last winter, laying low as teams like the Marlins and Cubs reportedly pursued the all-world slugger. When it was all said and done, though, it was the Angels pulling the rug out from underneath everyone else.
They may be getting ready to do the same this offseason.
FOXSportsWest.com’s Joe McDonnell reports that the Angels are in the middle of “serious” negotiations with Josh Hamilton, the player many feel is the top player on this year’s free-agent market.
According to MLB source the Angels are in SERIOUS negotiations with Josh Hamilton. No deal has been reached as of yet.—
Joe McDonnell (@joeontheradio) December 13, 2012
Shortly after McDonnell’s report via Twitter, Yahoo! Sports baseball writer Tim Brown confirmed that the Angels were indeed getting close to a deal with the free-agent slugger.
Confirming @joeontheradio report, industry source says Angels are indeed getting close on a deal with Hamilton. Not quite done.—
Tim Brown (@TBrownYahoo) December 13, 2012
ESPN’s Buster Olney also heard that the Angels may be gearing up for a big move.
Source: Angels positioning themselves for a big strike in the market. Hamilton? We'll see.—
Buster Olney (@Buster_ESPN) December 13, 2012
Not long after, just about every national baseball writer started to confirm the reported interest from both sides, with CBSSports.com’s Jon Heyman saying the two sides were “getting closer” to a deal.
Signing Hamilton would obviously be a major coup for the Halos. It would also give them one of the best lineups in all of baseball, adding Hamilton a lineup that already features Pujols and reigning Rookie of the Year and MVP runner-up Mike Trout.
It would also add to what would be a fascinating and developing dynamic between the two teams in Los Angeles. The Dodgers have stolen all of the headlines in the last few months, first with their salary-be-damned trade to acquire Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett and Carl Crawford from the Red Sox. They then headed into the offseason ready to spend and have done just that, most notably signing free-agent pitcher Zack Greinke to an historic deal.
There’s also a chance the Angels wouldn’t be done dealing if they were able to sign Hamilton. The Angels already have a full outfield, but signing Hamilton may allow them to trade Peter Bourjos or Mark Trumbo (or both of them) for starting pitching, which is currently a glaring weakness for the club.