The Rangers won’t be making any offers to Josh Hamilton before he hits the market in free agency.
Clubs have an opportunity to negotiate with their own prospective free agents, but Rangers GM Jon Daniels said the team agreed with Hamilton’s representatives that the slugger would test the market, so they’ll wait to find out how it shakes out.
“If you’ve gone this far, you’re going to test the market,” Daniels expounded. “The realities are when a man goes out and tests the market and it’s this close, you’re not going to pre-empt it. I think he’s going to go out to test the market and see what’s out there and get back to us.
“No door has been closed. We’re also very realistic about when a star player hits free agency at that point and the history of them returning to their original club. So we have to prepare both ways and prepare the club for the chance that he is not back.”
Hamilton, 31, just finished his 5th season in Texas and batted .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBIs. But he struggled at the finish, missing 5 contests in a crucial 6-game road trip because of vision problems diagnosed as ocular keratitis. Hamilton expounded too much caffeine was to blame, and when he cut down on his sports-drink consumption, his condition improved.
Hamilton didn’t hit well as the season finished, and he had a memorable fielding error in the American League West-deciding game in Oakland, dropping a shallow fly ball in center field that turned a tie game into a 7-5 lead for the Athletics, who went on to win the game 12-5, and thus the division. Basketball lines
Hamilton was 0-for-4 in Friday’s American League wild-card game loss to Baltimore, seeing 8 pitches. He had 6 swinging strikes and struck out on 3 pitches as the tying run late in the game. But CEO Nolan Ryan related the Rangers won’t let one bad stretch determine how they approach Hamilton in the offseason.
“I think Josh would have probably liked to have finished stronger, and we would have liked to have seen him finish stronger,” Ryan said. “Will it impact our position going forward? No, I don’t think so. I believe we’ll consider the entire season because it is a whole season that affects the outcome.
“They’ll go out and see what the market will bear and we shall see where we are at some point in time.”
Hamilton gave mixed messages about his upcoming decision as a free agent, saying he’d “absolutely” give the Texas Rangers the right to match any offer but would choose his next team solely on the word he receives from God.
“I always would love to stay here,” said Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP and a key cog for the Texas Rangers’ 2 World Series teams. “They understand that. They know that. When we talked earlier in the year, we didn’t get things worked out, so we announced we’d wait until the year was over. They obviously get first shot. I told them they’d get 1st shot at the close of the year. We’ll see what happens.”