The city of Los Angeles has had a lot more to cheer about over the last calendar year than any other city. They have both the Stanley Cup Champions in the Los Angeles Kings and the MLS Champions, the Los Angeles Galaxy. This culminated in the signing today of slugger Josh
Hamilton. Yet, will there be more to come?
Last December, the Angels of Anaheim signed free-agent Albert Pujols from the Cardinals with a 10-year $240 million contract. C.J. Wilson, from the Texas Rangers, received a 5-year $77.5 million contract to be a deadly pitching combo with ace Jared Weaver. Last season the Angels
came short of their goals. They finished the season over .500 (89-73) but were 5 games out in 3rd place. Pujols started out the season very slow, hitting only one home run in the first month. He got it together and finished with a .285 average, 30 HR’s with 105 RBI. C.J. Wilson started out hot, 9-3 thru June, but turned into a pumpkin the rest of the way going 4-7 after. Fast forward to today. The Angels have landed free-agent Josh Hamilton, from the Rangers, paying him $125 million over the next 5 years. This addition, along with Rookie of the Year, Mike Trout, should vault the Angels to the top of the AL West, if not farther.
The Los Angeles Dodgers, not to be outdone, signed former Cy Young Award winner, Zach Greinke to a 6-year $147 million along with South Korean pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin (6-years, $36 million). Plus, we cannot forget about the great gift from the Red Sox before last season ended,
who were dumping players and contracts, like the Marlins are so good at. They acquired big names Josh Beckett, Adrian Gonzalez, and Carl Crawford, whose combined contracts are well over $200 million. Not to mention earlier in the year they took Hanley Ramirez from those
payroll slashing Marlins. The Dodgers are primed to be the New York Yankees of the west coast. The new ownership, which includes Magic Johnson, have opened up their checkbooks to put a team on the field that can and will overtake the Yankees for the highest payroll in the
majors. It would be something that has not been done since 1998. This bank-busting effort could be the recipe needed to put the Dodgers into position to finally overtake their in-state rival and World Series Champion Giants.
The Los Angeles Clippers got into the act by getting All-Star point guard Chris Paul from the New Orleans Hornets. Now, teamed up with ultra-exciting to watch, Blake Griffin, this 1-2 punch is turning around a franchise that has seen more than their share of disappointment over the decades. They currently are 16-6, riding the wave of an 8-game win streak, good enough for 1st place in the Pacific Division. Funny, because Paul was originally set to be traded to the
Lakers, but Commissioner David Stern stepped in and vetoed that plan.
Speaking of the Los Angeles Lakers, they were not going to be left out in the cold. They landed both a 2-time MVP in Steve Nash from the Phoenix Suns, and 3-time NBA Defensive Player of the Year Dwight Howard from the Orlando Magic. Unfortunately, the Lakers have not seen the expected results for their effort. Currently the Lakers are an abysmal 9-14. Lost in all this is the fact that Nash has missed every game since he fractured his fibula against the Trail Blazers on
Halloween. They hired another Mike in D’Antoni, to replace Mike Brown, but he is not faring any better. The Lakers are one dimensional on offense and the defense is allowing over 113 points per game under D’Antoni.
Bottom line: 5 out of 6, not bad L.A.!!