For the second straight year, the Los Angeles Angels have made the biggest splash during the month of December. In 2011, the Angels signed prized free agent Albert Pujols to a 10-year contract worth $210 million and now in 2012, history has repeated itself with L.A. inking Josh Hamilton. Whenever big spending franchises come to mind in the baseball world, everyone points a finger at the New York Yankees. The tides have shifted towards the west as the Angels introduced Josh Hamilton to their fans this past weekend. The former MVP agreed to a 5-year contract worth $125 million with the Halos as Los Angeles, once again, tries to solidify themselves as World Series contenders. The Angels underwhelmed drastically in 2012 after the addition of multiple big-name free agents and faltered through much of the season as they fell short of the playoffs. A disappointing third place finish in the AL West cannot happen again in 2013 and adding a 5x All-Star could insure that it doesn’t.
Josh Hamilton established himself as a superstar when he arrived in Texas in 2008. His breakout season occurred in 2010 when he earned the MVP award after hitting for a league-leading .359 average and 32 HR equating to a whopping 1.044 OPS. He continued to crush the ball as he led the Rangers to the World Series – winning ALCS MVP along the way. The Rangers fell short of the World Series, something they would do again in 2011 and some fans may have grown a bit restless. Despite being one of the best hitters in the game, many feel Hamilton fell out of favor with Ranger fans. He was booed on more than one occasion in 2012 despite becoming an early season MVP favorite and even hitting four home runs in one game. Hamilton was outspoken and honest when it came to his impending free agency stating that he would likely go to the highest bidder. Not sure many Ranger fans were envisioning him bolting to the team’s biggest rival and possibly their biggest competition for the Division in 2013. If Hamilton thought boos were a little loud last season, wait until he hears them again next year when he returns to The Ballpark in Arlington.
• The Toronto Blue Jays continue to try and build a World Series contender this offseason as they have agreed to acquire the 2012 NL Cy Young R.A. Dickey from the New York Mets. The trade is far from complete as it depends on whether or not Dickey and Toronto can agree to an extension with a deadline set for Tuesday. If the trade goes through, Dickey would join Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle in Toronto as they form a new and vastly improved rotation. The 20-game winner showcased a very impressive 2.73 ERA in 2012 along with a 1.05 WHIP and 230 SO en route to winning his first career Cy Young. New York will reportedly receive two major prospects in Toronto's system if the trade goes through. Noah Syndergaard, the Blue Jays' top pitching prospect, along with promising catching prospect Travis d'Arnaud could be playing for the Mets in the near future as they continue to rebuild the team within. This is a trade that makes sense for both sides. Toronto wants to contend now and Dickey would become the number one starter on the team while the Mets sold high on the Cy Young winner and cashed in with prized prospects as they look to the future. Dickey and his knuckleball have dominated in indoor stadiums sporting a 1.72 ERA in them the past three seasons. Rogers Centre and Toronto could make for a very comfortable indoor home field should Dickey agree to an extension and finalize this trade.
• An exciting Sunday of football was had yesterday as the San Francisco 49ers made the biggest headlines. They bested the powerhouse New England Patriots 41-34 in one of the best games of the NFL season thus far. The two teams had a slobber-knocker matchup as San Francisco jumped out to a 28 point lead. Tom Brady and the Patriots came out like gangbusters in the second half as they threw for 443 total yards managing to tie the game in the 4th quarter. It was Colin Kaepernick and the 49ers, however, who were able to close the game out as the 49ers QB threw for four TD of his own in San Francisco's statement victory. Many are calling this the proverbial Super Bowl preview game and if it is, then I can't wait to watch it again.
• Adrian Peterson is the best RB in the NFL. Period. Peterson rushed for 212 yards against a very formidable St. Louis Rams defense yesterday. The Vikings won the game 36-22 and improved their record to 8-6 as they currently hold the rights to the second Wild Card slot in the NFC. With each passing week, the idea of Peterson possibly catching Eric Dickerson's rushing record becomes more and more viable. 2,105 is the number Peterson needs to get to and he is only 294 short with two games left. With the way he’s running, it doesn’t matter that he will be facing stout defenses in Houston and Green Bay to close out the season. No one can bring him down and he is must-see TV every Sunday. He’s busting out 80+ yard runs casually and the Vikings are going to give him every opportunity to break the record as AP gives them the best chance to win. With Percy Harvin out and Christian Ponder throwing the ball, there’s no need for anyone else on the Vikings to get the ball other than Adrian Peterson.
• Damian Lillard. Have you heard of him? Not many fans outside of Portland may know that answer but he's the runaway leader when it comes to Rookie of the Year in the NBA and should be an All-Star candidate with the way he's playing. The Trail Blazers rookie is averaging 18.8 PPG on 42% shooting along with 6.3 APG this season. His marque moment happened last night as he sank a game-winning three-pointer against the New Orleans Hornets with less than a second left lifting Portland to a 95-94 victory. Drafted 6th overall this past summer out of Weber State, Lillard has shined in the NBA with very little fanfare and a mediocre team around him. Not many thought Lillard would be this good this fast (or even this good period) so it’ll be interesting to see if the rookie can keep it up all season long. Regardless, it certainly seems like Portland has their PG of the future.
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