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December 15, 2012

Angels' full-court press won over Josh Hamilton

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- Josh Hamilton was introduced as the newest member of a star-studded Anaheim Angels roster Saturday in Downtown Disneyland, and said that the Angels overwhelmed him with their enthusiasm while the Rangers' approach of letting him test the market backfired.

Hamilton agreed to a five-year, $125 million contract Thursday afternoon after spending five years with the Rangers.

"Looking at it now, I think it's a blessing in disguise," Hamilton said. "I gave them everything I had for five years, so I'd be lying to you if I said it didn't bother me a little bit, that they didn't put the press on."

Hamilton deferred to his wife, Katie, to describe what went wrong with the Rangers, who had agreed to let Hamilton get a feel for what he might be worth. But by not striking first, she said, they found a new love.

"My take on it was we were with them for five years, and if you're going to date somebody and they're going to be your man or your woman, you make it official and make it known pretty quick or at some point that you want to be with them," she said. "They let us date other teams. Josh said he would give him the first chance, and they didn't take him up on that. So, they let us go out and date people and give our hearts away."

Said Hamilton, finishing his wife's thought: "They didn't put a ring on it."

Hamilton met with the Angels during the winter meetings in Nashville, Tenn., and owner Arte Moreno and team president John Carpino visited Hamilton at his Westlake home Monday. Hamilton said Moreno wanted to leave Texas with a deal.

By Wednesday, the talks intensified, and agent Mike Moye informed the Rangers on Thursday that Hamilton was gone.

"They like to get after it. They like to get things done," Hamilton said. "I was excited to see they were excited, to see a team and see people really pursue and want you as part of their organization. That's what a player wants to see."

The Rangers, meanwhile, met with Moye during the winter meetings. General manager Jon Daniels had the Hamiltons to his home Dec. 7, when Hamilton conveyed his feelings that perhaps it was time to move on.

Hamilton said that he was scheduled to meet Wednesday with team president Nolan Ryan, but the meeting was pushed back a day because Ryan was ill. They had their meeting Thursday after Hamilton had signed, and Hamilton said that Ryan had an understanding of what Hamilton had gone through.

"Katie and I both went up there and express our happiness and gratitude for them and what they've done for us the last few years," Hamilton said. "The meeting went great. He said he understood. He's been there. And he said he also understood that you wouldn't be able to play somewhere if they you feel like they didn't give you everything to try to keep you there.

Hamilton also said that Ryan apologized to him for his midseason comments about Hamilton's lack of performance.

"Man to man, he just apologized for it," Hamilton said.

As for the pledge to give the Rangers a chance to match his best offer, Hamilton said he didn't recall making that statement. Agent Mike Moye and Daniels came to an understanding that he would attempt to call the Rangers ahead of signing a deal if the opportunity presented itself. The Angels' deal, though, blew all others away.

"It's one of those things where I'm not going to get offers from this team and say this team offered this and bid everybody against each other. We don't work that way," Hamilton said. "Offer what you want to offer. That's fine. That's the way that worked."

-- Jeff Wilson

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