By Evans Clinchy
December 30, 2011

Albert Pujols had a huge payday for himself earlier this month when he agreed to a 10-year contract with the L.A. Angels worth around $250 million. But he also took steps toward helping his new team build toward a championship.

ESPN's Jerry Crasnick reports that Pujols agreed to a backloaded contract, one that will pay him a mere $12 million next season, in order to help the Angels afford a five-year, $77.5 million deal for prized starting pitcher C.J. Wilson. Pujols will then make $16 million in 2013 and his salary will gradually increase over the next decade, surpassing $30 million a year toward the end.

With Wilson now in the fray, the Angels boast a deadly top four that also includes ace-caliber starters Jered Weaver, Dan Haren and Ervin Santana. Wilson went 16-7 last year with a 2.94 ERA and finished sixth in the AL Cy Young voting, leading the Rangers to their second straight pennant in the process.

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