Hamilton jumps to Angels for $125M over 5 years

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Hamilton jumps to Angels for $125M over 5 years

For the second straight year, the biggest bat on the free-agent market is headed to the high-rolling Angels.

Josh Hamilton agreed to a $125 million, five-year contract with Los Angeles on Thursday, leaving the AL West rival Texas Rangers and becoming the latest high-profile star to migrate to Southern California.

Last winter, the Angels lured slugger Albert Pujols with a $240 million deal and pitcher C.J. Wilson - who was Hamilton's teammate in Texas - for $77.5 million. Still, the club missed the playoffs for the third consecutive season.

``He's a tremendous talent and I think that they've shown they're going to be in on a lot of the best players out there,'' Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said about Hamilton. ``No sugarcoating it, we wanted the player back. And he signed with the Angels. They're better.''

In other news, the Boston Red Sox agreed with Ryan Dempster on a two-year deal worth $26.5 million, while the New York Yankees and Ichiro Suzuki closed in on a contract that would guarantee him between $12 million and $13 million.

Players around the majors who finalized deals included Shane Victorino (Red Sox), Kevin Correia (Twins), Jack Hannahan (Reds), Andres Torres (Giants) and Nate McLouth (Orioles).

But it was Hamilton's decision that made headlines.

Daniels said the 2010 AL MVP had reached a deal with the Angels, another coup for owner Arte Moreno and GM Jerry Dipoto. Two people familiar with the talks disclosed the amount and length of the contract, speaking on condition of anonymity because the agreement was not yet final.

``It's a great day to be an Angel/Angel fan!'' Wilson said on his Twitter account.

Los Angeles had spent most of the offseason transforming its pitching staff with the additions of starters Tommy Hanson and Joe Blanton along with relievers Ryan Madson and Sean Burnett.

Now, Hamilton joins a power-packed lineup in Anaheim that includes Pujols, Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo and Kendrys Morales.

The 31-year-old slugger had a career-high 43 home runs with 128 RBIs in 148 games last season, when the wild-card Rangers slipped up down the stretch and lost the division title to Oakland on the final day of the regular season.

Hamilton was considered a risk by some teams because of his history of alcohol and substance abuse, which derailed his career before his surge with Texas over the past five seasons.

``Josh has done a lot for the organization, the organization has done a lot for Josh, a lot of things that aren't public and things of that nature,'' Daniels said. ``I'm a little disappointed how it was handled, but he had a decision to make and he made it.''

Speaking after a Rangers holiday luncheon, Daniels said he had just been informed of the decision by Hamilton's agent, Michael Moye.

Daniels said he was disappointed ``to some degree,'' especially since the Rangers never got a chance to match any offer during the process, as they had expected. Or at least to be contacted before Hamilton chose another team.

``I never expected that he was going to tell us to the dollar what they had, and a chance to offer it. Our full expectation, the phone call was going to be before he signed, and certainly not after,'' Daniels said. ``Everybody's got to make their own calls.''

While he wouldn't get into specifics, Daniels said his understanding is the deal with the Angels ``is certainly more guaranteed money.''

Hamilton's $25 million average salary matches Philadelphia first baseman Ryan Howard for the second-highest in baseball, trailing only Alex Rodriguez's $27.5 million average with the Yankees.

The agreement came days after the Los Angeles Dodgers added pitchers Zack Greinke and Ryu Hyun-jin, boosting their payroll over $200 million. Greinke, another offseason target, said he chose the Dodgers over the Rangers.

Elsewhere, the Yankees and Suzuki were likely to settle on a two-year deal, according to a person familiar with the negotiations who spoke on condition of anonymity because talks were ongoing.

Acquired from Seattle on July 23, the 39-year-old Suzuki revived his career in New York. A 10-time All-Star, he hit .322 with five homers, 27 RBIs and 14 steals in 67 games for the Yankees to help them win the AL East.

New York also planned to finalize a $12 million, one-year contract Friday with Kevin Youkilis.

The Red Sox landed a reliable starter in Dempster, two people familiar with the negotiations said. They spoke on the condition of anonymity because the agreement was pending a physical.

The right-hander was a combined 12-8 with a 3.38 ERA for the Cubs and Rangers this year. He has thrown more than 200 innings in four of the past five seasons.

Boston held a news conference to introduce Victorino, the speedy outfielder who agreed to a $39 million, three-year contract at the winter meetings last week. But general manager Ben Cherington said he had nothing to announce on Mike Napoli, the catcher-first baseman who also agreed to a $39 million, three-year deal during the winter meetings, pending a physical. That contract has yet to be announced.

``Our hope is that we'll be able to resolve the issues,'' Cherington said. ``We're working on it.''

Minnesota filled another hole on a staff that was full of them last season, completing a $10 million, two-year contract with Correia. The 32-year-old righty, an All-Star in 2011, went 12-11 with a 4.21 ERA for Pittsburgh last season but lost his spot in the rotation when the Pirates traded for Wandy Rodriguez.

``He knows what he's doing on the mound. He's a guy we've seen quite a bit,'' Twins GM Terry Ryan said. ``When you start cracking his numbers, they're very respectable.''

Cincinnati completed a $4 million, two-year contract with free agent Jack Hannahan, giving the NL Central champions added depth at third base.

Torres returned to the Giants, who gave him his first chance as a regular two years ago. The outfielder signed a $2 million, one-year contract with the reigning World Series champions after helping them to the 2010 title. He was traded to the Mets before last season.

``Great to have him back!'' manager Bruce Bochy wrote in a text message. ``He gives us that much more versatility and character in the clubhouse. Everybody loves Andres as a teammate.''

San Francisco also reached a minor league deal with right-hander Chad Gaudin, and Baltimore finalized a $2 million, one-year contract with McLouth.

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AP Sports Writers Ronald Blum, Dave Campbell, Jimmy Golen and Beth Harris and AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley contributed to this report.

Reimold's home run propels Orioles to 3rd straight win

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Reimold's home run propels Orioles to 3rd straight win

BALTIMORE – Nolan Reimold has never played a complete season in the major leagues. His career has been plagued with injuries, and wasn’t with the Orioles when they went to the postseason in 2012 and 2014. 

When the team made it to the ALCS two years ago, Reimold had briefly left the organization. He returned last year, and nearly three years after his second neck surgery, the 32-year-old has had a most productive few weeks for the Orioles. With all the team’s sexy new additions, Reimold has seemingly been overlooked, but he’s delivered some timely hits. 

On Friday night, Reimold hit a three-run home run that broke a 3-3 tie in the seventh inning, giving the Orioles their third straight win, 6-3 over the Chicago White Sox before 19,912 at Oriole Park. 

Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy began the seventh with singles off Carlos Rodon (1-3). Reimold hit an opposite field home run just over the right field scoreboard, his third of the year, and the Orioles had a 6-3 lead. 

Manager Buck Showalter knows what a sound Reimold can bring. 

“I’m real happy for him because he’s been down a rough road. It’s a real tribute to him to persevere through this. And quite proud of the organization for sticking with him. He’s dialed up a lot of things that we’ve needed,” Showalter said.

In 2012, Reimold’s year was finished by the end of April and in 2014, he never played with the team. For all the hard work Reimold has put in, he’d love to see a payoff. 

“That’s the ultimate goal, team goal, to make the playoffs, win the World Series. It’s something that I’d really like to experience while I’m still playing. It definitely would be a big thing. I’d love to do that,” Reimold said.

Brad Brach (3-0) got the win. Darren O’Day and Zach Britton finished up, and Britton got his sixth save. 

The Orioles improved their home record to 9-1, and they did on another brisk night. 

“It’s nasty out there,” Showalter said. 

While he and the Orioles would like to play in some better weather, it appears they’ll have to wait for that. 

“It was like playoff weather, cold as it is right now. I prefer a little bit more degrees on the thermometer,” Wieters said. 

Things went awry for Rodon and the White Sox (16-9) an inning later when the Orioles (14-8) came up with three runs. 

Jonathan Schoop’s single up the middle scored Wieters and Hardy. Reimold scored when shortstop Jimmy Rollins threw wildly to first on Joey Rickard’s grounder, and the Orioles led 3-1. 

Mike Wright allowed a run in the second on a double to Melky Cabrera and a two-out triple to Avisail Garcia. 

In the sixth, Rollins lifted a fly to center that Jones tried to make a diving catch on. He couldn’t, and Eaton made it to third. Jose Abreu’s single to right scored Eaton. 

Cabrera’s liner to center was caught by Jones, and he threw home as Wieters snatched the ball and swiftly brought it down to tag Rollins to temporarily preserve a 3-2 lead. 

“Adam’s got the hard part of making it all the way there. And I think the biggest thing I was worried about was the wet night, being able to get the skip. It didn’t really skip on me. It kind of bounced up on me. That made it a little bit easier, I guess,” Wieters said.

Showalter defended Jones’ style of play.

“If you think you are going to get Adam to back off from playing that way, you are kidding yourself. He can’t play the game any other way. That’s why you like him so much. That’s why you trust him effort-wise, and if you ever take that away from him — that aggressiveness- you might as well not play him,” Jones said. 

Wright allowed two runs on five hits in six innings, and Wieters  certainly liked what he saw.

“Today was I think the best he’s thrown any time I’ve caught him. I think he’ll be able to take a lot out of this outing and move forward as what kind of pitcher he can be. It was fun. It was fun back there catching him tonight and really even the runs they scored he made good pitches on. So for 90 pitches or whatever he threw he was focused as much as I’ve ever seen somebody,” Wieters said. 

Wright is seeing a big improvement in his outings.

“Since the beginning of the season, even since the beginning of spring training, I’ve felt better and better every time I’ve taken the mound. It’s very positive to go out there and really feel confident that I can execute every pitch [Wieters] puts down,” Wright said.  

Showalter hoping to get Flaherty back from Norfolk soon

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Showalter hoping to get Flaherty back from Norfolk soon

BALTIMORE – Friday is the game for the Orioles with a three-man bench. Pedro Alvarez, Caleb Joseph and Hyun Soo Kim comprise manager Buck Showalter’s extra players. 

The Orioles have gone with a short bench since Monday when the team optioned infielder Ryan Flaherty to Norfolk in order to have an eight-man bullpen. 

Showalter is hoping that he’ll be able to have Flaherty back soon. He’s eligible to return next Thursday, 10 days after he was optioned. The only exception is if Flaherty replaces a player placed on the disabled list.

Flaherty accepted his demotion to Norfolk in stride, quickly reporting to the Tides. 

“We’ll do what’s best, but we know Ryan’s time down there is up on the fifth,” Showalter said.

“He’s done real well down there. I’m proud of that.” 

Norfolk manager Ron Johnson is glad to have Flaherty in Norfolk.

“R.J. said he looks like a big leaguer playing in the minor leagues,” Showalter said. 

The Orioles don’t pinch hit much, and haven’t needed an extra outfielder, but with his team ahead by eight runs after six innings, Showalter felt comfortable enough to rest a few of his regulars.

“It was quite a challenge last night to get Adam (Jones) and J.J. (Hardy) and Chris (Davis) off the field with a three-man bench and still have one left on the bench,” Showalter said.

RELATED: SHOWALTERS ANNOUNCE PLANS FOR OCTOBER KIDSPEACE RACE

Showalters announce plans for October KidsPeace race

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Showalters announce plans for October KidsPeace race

BALTIMORE—Six months from today, Buck and Angela Showalter will host their 7th annual KidsPeace 5K Trick-or-Trot at Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

KidsPeace benefits foster parenting, and it’s a cause the Showalters feel deeply about. 

Angela Showalter speaks fondly about her upbringing with two parents and an extended family, and notes that the children she and her husband are trying to help, are lacking the basics. 

“These children don’t even have a parent. They don’t even have the village to get started in,” she said at a luncheon to announce the race on Friday. 

“It’s so amazing how the one little bit of attention they feel like they’re getting from the race carries so much weight with them.”

Foster children often move, and don’t have a firm foundation.

“They often leave a parent who is probably very dysfunctional,” Angela Showalter said. “They have things that are being ripped away from them constantly.” 

Buck Showalter has become very active with KidsPeace and told a story of one of his staff members, who adopted a child who had behavioral issues. 

“He was talking about the impact of KidsPeace the other day, and that he wished his daughter had had that help when she was at that age when she wasn’t adoptable,” Showalter said. 

The registration fee is $30 between now and May 20. For more information, visit www.kidspeace5K.org.