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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Angels would not confirm to C.J. Wilson that they were pursuing Albert Pujols

Signing a player to a $250 million contract is not something that just comes together overnight. Very few of us thought of Los Angeles as a potential landing spot for Albert Pujols this past offseason, but the Angels had to have been planning it all along. Considering we are living in an era where Twitter and other forms of social media prevent anyone from keeping a secret, the Angels did a tremendous job of keeping their intentions under wraps. In fact, they even kept C.J. Wilson in the dark about it when they were courting the left-hander.

“I personally found out about the Albert Pujols thing via twitter,” Wilson said during an interview with ESPN Los Angeles. “(Angels GM) Jerry Dipoto was sitting in my agent’s hotel suite and we were sitting their talking to him and he said look I don’t mean to be blunt, but if there is a paper that walks in here I am going to have to divert my attention to that because there is something else going on. I was like what the hell is this guy talking about right now? It is 3 in the morning. Either he has had too many beers or something. We were all kind of loopy at this point.

“A piece of paper walked in and he signed it and I was like alright. I looked onto twitter and it said: Angels making a play for Wilson and Pujols. I was just like did you sign Albert Pujols? … He was like I can’t tell you anything, but what are you reading on twitter? I was like well I am reading you are trying to sign me and Pujols. He’s like it is possible that is the correct rumor, but I can’t confirm it. I was like if I sign this sheet of paper that is front of me right now I want to know what is going on. I signed it and he’s like okay we just got you and Pujols.

“Initially they were like we are signing you. We want to take you away from the Rangers. We want you to be a part of the best rotation in baseball and that’s the deal. We are going to win on pitching and we are going to win on defense and we are going to win on the young guys getting better. I was like alright that is good enough for me. Fast forward about a month later or three weeks later, whenever it was and I’m like you got me and Pujols? Alright I am in for sure.”

For one thing, the Angels didn’t want to sell Wilson on the idea that they were pursuing Pujols in case it didn’t happen. That would be poor negotiation ethics. But it also speaks to the tremendous job L.A. did of keeping the interest under the radar. If you tell a guy like Wilson you’re going to push hard for Pujols, he would be far more likely to sign. I’m sure they hinted at it, but the fact that they got him to buy in anyway speaks volumes to how perfectly the Angels executed their offseason agenda this winter.



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