DALLAS -- As their courtship of marquee free-agent pitcher C.J. Wilson moved into what might have been its final hours on Wednesday night, and their apparent pursuit of marquee free-agent first baseman Albert Pujols reportedly seemed to warm up, the Los Angeles Angels agreed to a one-year, $3 million deal with veteran reliever LaTroy Hawkins, according to a source who spoke on the condition of anonymity.
Hawkins, a right-hander who will turn 39 later this month, is entering his 18th major league season. He spent the past two years with the Milwaukee Brewers, posting a 2.42 ERA in 52 appearances in 2011 to become a key figure in the team's runaway division title in the National League Central.
Adding bullpen depth has been a stated goal of the Angels and their new general manager, Jerry Dipoto, all winter.
Meanwhile, Wilson was spotted at the Hilton Anatole, site of baseball's winter meetings, on Wednesday night. What his presence meant wasn't exactly clear, but there were strong indications his former club, the Texas Rangers, were slipping out of the Wilson sweepstakes, apparently leaving the Angels and Miami Marlins as the final suitors.
But it is the pursuit of Pujols, which only really came to light within the past 24 hours, that suddenly has muddled the picture. Because the Angels have $126 million already committed to their 2012 player payroll and because owner Arte Moreno has publicly said he doesn't expect the final figure to be more than $140 million, the Angels probably can't sign both Wilson and Pujols, suggesting Pujols might be a fallback plan if Wilson falls through.
"Our net has been spread wide,'' Dipoto said earlier, when asked about possible interest in Pujols.
Tony Jackson covers baseball for ESPNLosAngeles.com.