LA Angels Top Moments of the Decade #3: Albert and CJ Begin a New Era in Anaheim
When the LA Angels signed Albert Pujols and CJ Wilson in December of 2011, it was the end of a great ERA of Angels baseball, and the start of one that was supposed to be much, much better.
Throughout this LA Angels countdown, there have been a few moments that felt a lot better when they were happening than in hindsight. The Josh Hamilton signing, the 2014 regular season, and especially the moment Pujols and Wilson sat between the hats outside of The Big A.
For years, the Halos had been stuck as a really good team who just didn’t have the star power to put them over the top. Pujols filled a big need in the lineup, and Wilson was brought in to help stabilize the rotation.
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It was the biggest offseason Arte Moreno had has as Angels owner. He gave Pujols and Wilson a combined $329 million, and made a statement to the rest of the MLB that the Angels meant serious business.
Obviously it did not work out like we had all hoped, but this signing was such a relief for Angels fans. After missing on star third baseman Adrian Beltre just a year earlier, Moreno was able to (in the moment) get redemption by bringing in a three-time MVP first baseman as well as a career 3.60 ERA pitcher in Wilson. With Mike Trout on the way, the Angels were set up for years of contention.
While the Wilson signing didn’t play out how we all wanted it to, it was a favorite personally. Wilson quickly became a favorite of my mom’s, and his starts were much watch television in our household. While he wasn’t the best pitcher for the Angels, he was the best pitcher for my mom, and that makes the 75 million worth it, right?
Obviously it didn’t go how we all wanted, but these signings marked a change in the Halos’ organization. Arte Moreno was proving they were spenders. It was the beginning of a decade in which the Angels would hand out three more lucrative deals. The first to Josh Hamilton, the second Mike Trout’s extension, and the third and most recent being Anthony Rendon.