Owner Arte Moreno, his wife, Carole, and John Carpino, the team's president, flew to Texas to meet Hamilton at his home Monday.
But Hamilton said things didn't get “serious” until Wednesday, when the Angels made their formal offer on the same day Dipoto, at a news conference to introduce four pitchers, told reporters a significant move was not “imminent, pressing or required.” Within 24 hours, Hamilton was an Angel.
“Of course, I was surprised,” said Hamilton, who, like many, thought the Angels were in heavy pursuit of pitcher Zack Greinke, who signed a six-year, $147-million deal with the Dodgers.
“They like to get after it. They like to get things done. We talked for about three days. I was excited to see they were excited, to see a team and people who really pursue you and want you.”
Hamilton didn't get that same feeling from the Rangers, a team he led to the World Series in 2010 and 2011.
“I think it was a blessing in disguise,” Hamilton said. “I gave them everything I had for five years. I'd be lying if I said it didn't bother me a little bit that they didn't put the press on.”
Hamilton then deferred to his wife, who compared Josh's relationship with the Rangers to a courtship.
“My take on it is we were with them for five years, and if you're going to date someone and he's going to be your man, you make it official and known pretty quick that you want to be with him,” Katie said. “They let us date other teams. Josh said he'd give them first chance, and they didn't take him up on that.”
Interjected Hamilton: “She said, you should have put a ring on it.”
Hamilton's heavily backloaded contract includes a $10-million signing bonus, payable up front, and salaries of $15 million in 2013 and 2014, $23 million in 2015 and $30 million in 2016 and 2017.
As part of the deal, which includes a full no-trade clause and use of a luxury suite, the Angels will make a $2-million donation to Hamilton's charitable foundation.
There is no language in the contract protecting the Angels from a relapse involving drugs or alcohol. But Hamilton must undergo three drug tests per week, and he is subject to penalties under baseball's joint drug program should he test positive.
The Angels also hired Shayne Kelley, Hamilton's “accountability partner” for the last year in Texas. Kelley, a close friend of Michael Moye, Hamilton's agent, will travel with the Angels and serve as Hamilton's chaperone, confidant and adviser.
“They're going to help me with my support system, put things in place that I had with the Rangers,” said Hamilton, who relapsed twice in 2009 and once last spring. “Obviously, I've had a past history of making mistakes. It's one of those things where I think the Angels see the risk and the reward.”
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