Ezra Shaw/Getty Images
Josh Hamilton takes a swing last season as a member of the Texas Rangers. He's an Angel now after signing a five-year, $125 million contract. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
The credit for bringing one of the top prizes in this year’s crop of baseball free agents to the Los Angeles Angels goes straight to the top.
Five-time All-Star slugger Josh Hamilton says guidance from God and a meeting with Angel owner Arte Moreno helped him decide to leave the Texas Rangers and come west to Anaheim.
Hamilton told reporters during a news conference at the ESPN Zone in Anaheim’s Downtown Disney that he enjoyed his time in Texas “tremendously” and “loved” spending time with Ranger manager Ron Washington.
But Hamilton also said he “prayed a lot” about whether to accept the Angels’ five-year, $125 million contract offer.
“A lot of times, God like to take us out of our comfort zone,” he said. “One, we can grow spiritually, and two, we can affect people in different places.”
The 31-year-old Hamilton also said he was impressed with Angel team owner Arte Moreno’s commitment to the community.
Despite his tremendous talent, Hamilton was widely viewed as a risk for any team willing to pay him top money. Drug and alcohol abuse kept the top pick in Major League Baseball’s 1999 amateur draft out of action for more than three seasons (2003-06).
At today’s news conference, Hamilton spoke openly about his addiction problems and his need for a support system to keep him steady. He said he’d bring that support with him, and that the Angels have committed to helping him.
Hamilton also said he was excited about being reunited with former Rangers pitcher CJ Wilson, who signed with the Angels during the last offseason.
Hamilton said Wilson lobbied him to join the Angels.
“I got a text from CJ saying, ‘I don’t know if this is Hambone’s number still, but come to LA!’”