Wilson was 16-7 with a 2.94 ERA for the Rangers last season and made his only All-Star team. He made a league-high 34 starts, but it was only his second full season as a starter after five coming out of the bullpen.
Wilson had received a six-year offer from the Marlins. He said that the Rangers had no chance after Miami made their offer. He also said he accepted less money to sign with the Angels.
Wilson joined the Angels on the same day Los Angeles agreed to a 10-year, $254 million deal with first baseman Albert Pujols. In an interview from baseball's winter meetings with ESPN's "SportsCenter," he said he is excited to have Pujols as a teammate.
"It's crazy, obviously, with Albert going over there," Wilson told reporters. "It's a big swing of the balance of power in the West. I thought I was going to make a little bit of difference and he's obviously going to make a huge one. I mean, nobody saw that coming.
Wilson's agent, Bob Garber, had said that his meeting Tuesday with the Rangers was "great" and that he was "pleasantly surprised," but there were indications that Texas was not comfortable going to five years for the 31-year-old.
"I was under the impression they were going to make a more serious run at me," Wilson said of the Rangers. "The length of contract wasn't there. The money wasn't there."
He said that the Rangers' offer "was almost half" compared to an offer he got from the Marlins.
The Marlins and a few other National League teams were at the top of Wilson's list, but then he started to consider pitching close to home. Wilson lives only 15 minutes from the Angels ballpark.
"Being close to home in Anaheim, that was really the only factor that let me make an emotional decision instead of a financial decision," Wilson said.
Still, as the Angels negotiated with Pujols, they wouldn't budge off four years. Finally, Wednesday night Wilson received a text message that the team would go five years, and he decided to sign.
"If it was all about the money, I would be a Florida Marlin right now," Wilson said. "I turned down a lot more money."
Despite the Rangers having the worst offer of the three teams, Wilson still called leaving Texas "almost impossible."
"It would have been a more difficult decision if the (Rangers' and Angels') offers were close, but there was no comparison between the two teams," Wilson said.
"Something like is a difficult decision," he added. "It's life-changing money, obviously, for me. I have a lot of people to take care of family-wise, friend-wise and my charity. It was a win-win for me with the Angels and the Marlins.
"It came down to the Marlins and the Angels at the end. The Rangers weren't really a factor."
Sources told ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett that Wilson will receive a $2.5 million signing bonus and salaries of $10 million in 2012, $11 million in 2013, $16 million in 2014, $18 million in 2015 and $20 million in 2016.
Wilson was winless in this year's postseason. He became the first pitcher in the same season to have a loss in the division series, championship series and World Series. He also was the losing pitcher in the All-Star Game -- the defeat cost the Rangers home-field advantage in the World Series, and they lost Game 7 at St. Louis.
Wilson joins an Angels team that went 86-76 and finished 10 games behind Texas in the AL West. The Angels won the division from 2007-09.
But the Angels have a new general manager in Jerry Dipoto, and he was given the green light to go after players.
"I think it's a tribute to the aggressive nature, competitive nature and quality of our own ownership with Angels," Dipoto said. "We are in a unique position as it pertains to our market, our location and attractiveness of our club. This was really good fit for our franchise, and I believe it excellent fit for players we're talking about here. We're talking about iconic player of his generation, and we're talking about an ace-type starting pitcher."
Information from ESPNDallas.com's Richard Durrett, ESPNLosAngeles.com's Tony Jackson and The Associated Press was used in this report.