DALLAS – Left-hander C.J. Wilson(notes), the best of a thin class of free-agent starters, on Thursday agreed to a five-year, $75 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels, according to multiple reports, putting an exclamation point on a day that began with the Angels grabbing Albert Pujols(notes) from under the noses of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Pujols agreed to terms on a 10-year deal worth from $250 to $260 million, meaning the Angels cut loose about $320 million as everybody else was focused on the Rule 5 draft and checking out of the Hilton Anatole hotel. The Angels are close to finalizing a new TV deal with Fox, according to the Los Angeles Times, which could explain where all the money is going to come from.
So Wilson leaves the Texas Rangers, who with Wilson at or near the top of their rotation won consecutive American League West titles and both times advanced to the World Series. The Angels won three division titles and five of six before being overtaken by the Rangers.
Wilson, a converted reliever, is 31-15 with a 3.14 ERA over the past two seasons. He’ll join a rotation with Jered Weaver(notes), Dan Haren(notes) and Ervin Santana(notes) that with Wilson should be one of the best in the game.
The Marlins bid until the end, as has become their habit, though they’re unaccustomed this week to losing out on players. They’d reportedly increased the term of their offer to Wilson to six years, though it seems the 31-year-old was drawn by the prospect of returning to the old neighborhood.
[Related: Brown: Pujols spurns Cardinals for Angels]
He grew up not far from Angel Stadium, attending Fountain Valley High School, located 12 miles from the ballpark. He then pitched at Santa Ana junior college and Loyola Marymount University, all in Southern California.
The Angels – under new general manager Jerry Dipoto (this was his first major deal for the club) – were working to make up 10 games to the Rangers. Wilson’s decision would appear to weaken Texas, which got 67 starts out of him over the past two seasons and nine more in the postseason.
The Rangers did appear to be readying themselves for such an outcome last month, when they signed Joe Nathan(notes) to be their closer and moved closer Neftali Feliz(notes) to the starting rotation, where he’ll presumably join Colby Lewis(notes), Derek Holland(notes), Alexi Ogando(notes) and Matt Harrison(notes).
[Related: Passan's ultimate free-agent tracker]
Wilson’s regular-season acumen has not translated into the postseason. Over the past two Octobers, he is 1-5 with a 4.82 ERA in 10 games – nine of them starts. He pitched better in the 2011 World Series, posting a 2.92 ERA over 12⅓ innings, which covered two starts and a relief appearance.
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