Commentary

Show me more than the money

A pitch-by-pitch account of how the Angels landed Pujols and Wilson

Updated: January 26, 2012, 2:00 PM ET
By Sam Miller | ESPN The Magazine

IT WAS AROUND 3 A.M. on Dec. 8 in a suite at the Hilton Anatole in Dallas when Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto told C.J. Wilson something that might sweeten the offer. He said there was another guy in the works, somebody good, who may also be signing with the Angels.

Wilson came alive. He started peppering Dipoto with questions, trying to coax an answer, even a clue. Dipoto was stoic. Wilson grabbed his phone, hopped on Twitter and scanned his timeline, searching for rumors until he found one: The Angels were looking to make a move on Wilson and Albert Pujols.

Wilson does impressions, so he jumped up in the middle of agent Bob Garber's suite and mimicked Pujols' batting stance. Wilson knew the stance well; six weeks earlier, he had seen plenty of it during the World Series while pitching for the Rangers. Wilson intentionally walked the Cardinals slugger three of the six times he faced Pujols in October, because, really, why bother against a guy that good?

"So you're looking at me and that guy?" Wilson asked Dipoto mischievously. "The guy with the high elbow, wears No. 5?" Maybe the exhausting days of negotiations had weakened Dipoto's poker face. Or maybe, secretly, he wanted Wilson to know. Dipoto wouldn't confirm anything, but Wilson saw -- or at least imagined -- something in Dipoto's eye that told Wilson he was right.

"Are you for real?" Wilson asked.

"I am absolutely for real," the GM responded.


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