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No Angels fans, that was not a dream. And as far as the other 29 teams and their fans are concerned – sorry, but that was not a horrible nightmare. Thursday morning really did begin with news that the Angels not only signed pitcher C.J. Wilson, but Albert Pujols as well.
Veteran outfielder Vernon Wells was ecstatic when talking about the addition of his new teammates. “You’re adding two of the biggest pieces in the market, two guys still young and in their prime who can dominate. This gives us a legitimate chance to get to the playoffs and farther,” he said.
All the excitement definitely begins with the shocking acquisition of King Albert. The Angels were not mentioned as a contender for his services until just 48 hours before the deal took place. It was clear that Pujols was potentially the most talented player to ever hit the free-agent market. Contrary to rumors that had his overall contract estimated around $300 million over ten years the Angels were able to get him onboard for ten years and $254 million.
But, when hearing these circumstances, the situation should not be misconstrued. Pujols was not shortchanged by any means whatsoever, and the Angels were not given an easily affordable check to write. The two sides agreed to the second largest contract in Major League history.
Only Alex Rodriguez’s ten year, $275 million deal that he signed in 2007 with the Yankees has ever been worth more. Angels owner Arte Moreno had no doubt that Pujols was worth the nice chunk of change. “This is a monumental day for Angel fans, and I could not be more excited. Albert’s career performance clearly speaks for itself. He has proven to be the best player of his generation.”
And while Pujols’ star power was the big story of the day, the signing of Wilson should not be overlooked. Unlike Pujols, most people were aware that the Angels were strongly pursuing the lefty starter in Wilson. The 31-year-old grew up just 12 miles from Angel Stadium and did not reassure the Rangers and their fans that he desired to return for another season in Arlington.
His hometown team showed interest and made him a suitable offer. “At the end of the day, my family was a big player in this, and my friends and stuff back home,” said Wilson. “Going back to where you’re from is a difficult thing to turn down when you have an opportunity, and it works out really in every way.”
Although Wilson was regarded as the best starter available this offseason, he did not receive a $100+ million contract like many expected before this October. His lack of a power fastball and struggles this postseason were the contributors in the end. He went 0-3 with a 5.79 ERA in 6 starts during the 2011 playoffs.
Not only does adding Wilson give the Angels one of the top starting rotations in the league with Jared Weaver, Dan Haren, and Ervin Santana, but it also weakens the Rangers rotation. Texas has won the A.L. West the last two years and gone to the World Series both times.
Now the Angels aim to get back to dominating the division the way they did in past years. In just one day’s worth of signings C.J. Wilson and Albert Pujols have also changed the entire landscape of the American League as a whole. Get your tickets now, Angels fans. They won’t be available for too long.