(Reuters) - Josh Hamilton was introduced as a member of the Los Angeles Angels on Saturday and the slugger immediately promised to give everything he has to the team on and off the field.
A five-time All-Star who overcame drug and alcohol addictions to become one of Major League Baseball’s most feared hitters, Hamilton signed a five-year, $125 million deal with the Angels earlier in the week, leaving the Texas Rangers after helping them to consecutive World Series appearances in 2010 and 2011.
“Excited to be here, excited to think about the next five years, excited to think about this lineup and what it’s capable of,” Hamilton told reporters.
“It’s going to be a good run and I‘m going to give everything I’ve got to the organization on and off the field.”
Hamilton joins a high-powered Angels lineup that includes three-time National League Most Valuable Player (MVP) Albert Pujols, a 32-year-old slugger who signed a 10-year, $240 million deal with the team last year.
Hamilton, a 31-year-old hard-hitting outfielder, broke into the major leagues in 2007 with the Cincinnati Reds but was traded to the Rangers after the season.
Hamilton has a career .304 batting average, 553 runs batted in and 161 home runs, including a career-high 43 last season.
The Rangers stood by Hamilton as he battled to control his addictions, including a relapse before the start of last season.
But the slugger got the campaign off to a sizzling start and looked to be a Triple Crown threat after slamming 18 homers in the Rangers’ opening 34 games.
Hamilton, however, saw his production fall off in the second half of the season finishing with a .285 batting average and 128 runs batted in.
“His qualities on the field really don’t need much rundown -- five consecutive All-Star appearances, an AL MVP, batting champion, Silver Sluggers, you name it,” said Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto. “But more importantly, a fascinating story. And we look forward to this being the next chapter in his life and our organization’s history.”
The Rangers had been hopeful of re-signing the 2010 American League MVP and admitted they were caught off guard by Hamilton’s jump to their American League West division rivals.
Hamilton said he was just as surprised that the Rangers did not try harder to get his name on a contract.
”I gave (the Rangers) everything I had for five years,“ said Hamilton. ”I’d be lying if I said it didn’t bother me a little bit that they didn’t put the press on.
”The relationships I created in Texas, I love (manager Ron Washington), I loved spending time with him, talking to him.
“There’s no reason I can’t be in the offices with (manager Mike) Scioscia over here, spending time with him, talking to him, picking his brain - he’s got a lot of knowledge about the game and I‘m sure life as well.”
Reporting by Steve Keating in Toronto, Editing by Gene Cherry