words // Brennan Hiro Williams

You either die a hero, or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.

In a shocking twist, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim swooped in on the 2011 MLB Winter Meetings and acquired two of the games top free agents — Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson.

Pujols, the nine-time All-Star and three-time National League MVP, reached a $254 million, 10-year deal with the Angels, turning down a more lucrative offer from the Miami Marlins and a more poetic one with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Wilson, a breakout pitcher from the last two Texas Rangers World Series squads, signed a $77.5 million, 5-year deal with LAA, giving its strong pitching staff a much needed left-handed starter.

This all comes less than 24 hours after both players appeared to be headed to Miami. Owner Arte Moreno, who bought the team for $184 million in 2003 and just committed $331.5 million to two players, said, “this is a monumental day for Angels fans, and I could not be more excited.”

The two All-Star additions join a team that has had trouble overtaking the Texas stranglehold in the AL West, though it possesses an intriguing mix of savvy vets (Torii Hunter, Howie Kendrick), elite starting pitching (Dan Haren, Jered Weaver) and young prospects (AL ROY runner up Mark Trumbo, uber prospect Mike Trout).

Will the additions of Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson be enough to bring the Angels a World Series trophy?

Photos via ESPN


Albert Pujols crushes one of his 37 homeruns in 2011 wearing Nike cleats.


CJ Wilson, with his custom Wilson A2000 1796 glove, won 16 games and recorded 200+ strikeouts for the Rangers in 2011.


Jered Weaver, who recently signed his own $85 million, 5-year extension with the team, set a MLB record in 2011 by becoming the first pitcher to win six games by April 25. He’ll look to lead the staff again in 2012 wearing Nike Baseball gear.


Dan Haren remains consistent as they come, wearing adidas cleats and a Rawlings glove.


Torii Hunter reps Nike and Team Swingman, dazzling us with outfield highlights year after year.


Howie Kendrick increased his power numbers in 2011, hitting for a .802 OPS wearing Nike.


Mark Trumbo was the AL Rookie of the Year runner up in 2011, belting 29 homeruns while wearing Under Armour.


Mike Trout made his debut for the Halos’ in 2011, and looks to patrol center field in his Nike cleats for years to come.