With Josh Hamilton, the MLB's top free agent, agreeing Thursday to a five-year deal with the Los Angeles Angels for $125 million—according to ESPNDallas.com—the list of top contenders to win the 2013 World Series has undergone a pretty significant change.
Not only has the tide shifted towards the Angels in the American League, but it has also moved away from the Texas Rangers.
The Rangers targeted both of the big guns this offseason in Hamilton and Zack Greinke, but ended up watching both players sign elsewhere.
Just four days after watching the Los Angeles Dodgers land Greinke, the Angels swooped in Thursday to bag the biggest slugger on the market.
With that in mind, here are the top five teams in best position to contend for the World Series.
The defending American League champions sleepwalked through the AL Central last year and got hot at the end.
They still have a formidable starting rotation—even if Anibal Sanchez goes elsewhere—and they are getting Victor Martinez's bat back in the lineup to pair with Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder.
They still have to solve their gaping hole at closer, though—the embattled Jose Valverde is not coming back—and potentially replace Sanchez in the rotation.
With Torii Hunter signing in Detroit, they solved some of their outfield problems that proved damaging in the World Series.
Good pitching beats good hitting, but the Tigers' lineup top-to-bottom is downright terrifying.
We know the Dodgers have pitching.
With Zack Greinke signed to be the No. 2 starter behind Clayton Kershaw, they can run top-line starters out to the mound in four out of every five games. That is, of course, assuming Josh Beckett can stay healthy and Hyun-Jin Ryu lives up to the hype.
Regardless, the biggest problem the Dodgers are going to have is how well they gel as a team.
With everyone and their mother knowing the team's new ownership group has money to burn, can the Dodgers take their star-studded lineup and turn it into a World Series champion?
Manager Don Mattingly will have his hands full keeping everyone in line next year, but if the team's All-Stars click, they are in great shape.
Word of advice: Look towards Staples Center to see how not to run a group of All-Stars.
With Josh Hamilton in the fold, the Angels offense should not only be epic, but historic.
For the next five years, they will have Mike Trout, Albert Pujols and Hamilton in the top four spots in their lineup.
No matter how the chips fall, with Hamilton's hefty production in the lineup, the Angels can get to the World Series on offense alone.
On paper, the San Francisco Giants are just as strong going into 2013 as they were in 2012.
They kept Angel Pagan and Marco Scutaro in town with new contracts and have kept all of the key pieces that helped them win a championship last year.
With a solid starting rotation like the Giants have, the only real question mark is what role Tim Lincecum will play.
At his best, he is as good or better than teammate Matt Cain and the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw. Last year, however, control problems cost him a place in the starting rotation for the playoffs.
With all the pressure and expectations of holding off the Dodgers in the NL West, which Lincecum will we see?
The Washington Nationals have not-so-quietly put together a great team.
Already this offseason, they have traded for center fielder Denard Span and signed starting pitcher Dan Haren to a one-year deal.
2013 was expected to be the year the Nationals broke through and won the NL East, but they accomplished that feat in 2012.
With Stephen Strasburg not limited by an innings restriction and Bryce Harper likely to improve on his Rookie of the Year season, the sky is the limit.
All signs point to last year's playoff frustration being a learning experience—one that will lead them to the World Series.