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Nolan Ryan expects Josh Hamilton to hit the free agent market

May 19, 2012, 10:30 AM EDT

Josh Hamilton, Nolan Ryan AP AP

Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier this month that the Rangers had reopened negotiations with hot-hitting outfielder Josh Hamilton on a possible long-term contract extension, but it appears there’s little chance of an agreement coming together during the season.

Rangers president and CEO Nolan Ryan told Calvin Watkins of last night that the team hasn’t negotiated with Hamilton’s representatives since spring training and that they expect him to test the free agent market this offseason.

“We haven’t carried on the negotiations during the season because we don’t feel like it’s fair to Josh,” said Ryan, who pointed out general manager Jon Daniels spoke briefly with Hamilton’s agent during spring training. “And we don’t want to do something that will be a distraction.”

“…We are certainly in hopes that we’ll able to work a deal out with him. But I think [Hamilton and his agent] had the mindset they’ll go through the season and see what happens and see what the market is for Josh Hamilton. It’s hard to make any kind of prediction where that will go. I think it’s probably pretty much where we are.”

Ryan expects something will be decided in late November or early December, which means they’ll have as good a chance to sign him as anyone else. If Hamilton manages to stay on the field and keeps producing at an elite level, his best offer could come elsewhere.

Hamilton, who turns 31 on Monday, is hitting .392/.444/.804 with 18 homers, 45 RBI and a 1.249 OPS across 162 plate appearances this season.

  1. Old Gator - May 19, 2012 at 10:54 AM

    Last time I saw such a terrifying set of numbers, they were the radiation levels at Fukushima.

  2. bchapman2011 - May 19, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    If he does hit free agency you might as well start buying your LA Dodger Hamilton jerseys now. New ownership is going to spend a fortune this offseason to put more bats in the lineup. Ethier, Kemp, and Hamilton would be a scary trio.

    • spellingcops - May 19, 2012 at 11:54 AM

      Please don’t let that happen baseball gods.

      -Rockies fan

    • spellingcops - May 19, 2012 at 11:56 AM

      Not that the Dodgers (or anyone else, really) need any help beating the Rox.

    • Ben - May 19, 2012 at 12:47 PM

      From what you Dodgers fans have said, the Dodgers will be signing Ethier, Kemp, Greinke, Hamels, Edwin Jackson, Miguel Montero, and then trade for David Wright. Oh, and I think Mariano Rivera will technically be a free agent too, you guys should look into signing him.

      • vanmorrissey - May 19, 2012 at 3:24 PM

        Right, as much as they wish they won’t be signing Hamilton if they keep Ethier, it just won’t happen. You’d have a $60 million outfield on three players, that won’t happen, bet on it.

    • bchapman2011 - May 19, 2012 at 4:06 PM

      you are probably right…..Dodgers cannot afford all three players but Ethier is a free agent and I think that they would let him walk in exchange for Hamilton. Anybody that does not believe that LA is going to go after multiple big name players is crazy. They just paid 2.2 billion for the team. They have the cash to make it happen. Before they go crazy they need to look at the success they have had this year with a couple of stars and a really good supporting cast. That is how you win. Buying rings never works just ask the Yankees.

      • angrycorgi - May 19, 2012 at 9:26 PM

        I hate the Yankees as much as the next guy, but they do have 27 championships…so how does that prove that buying championships doesn’t work again??

  3. dirkified - May 19, 2012 at 11:00 AM

    Nolan, your food kicks ass at the BallPark and all but SIGN HAMBONE ALREADY!! Give him a $100 mill 4yr deal or something. We need him. Name another player with these stats that dives to make it to first base and has rocket launcher of an arm in outfield. Ohh and he is a ok hitter too “pun intended”… He plays hard EVERY play. It has been a generation since we have seen this type of work ethic day-in and day-out.

    • bchapman2011 - May 19, 2012 at 11:06 AM

      Don’t you think they have already offered him a lucrative deal? Of course they have but this guy is going to be going after Pujols and A Rod money. He will not get it because of his addiction issues but he will get close to 200 million in the open market. Texas will not pay him that much.

      • dirkified - May 19, 2012 at 11:08 AM

        If we win a WS this year, we will give him $200mill over the next 8. A World Series win free’s up a lot of cash..

      • bchapman2011 - May 19, 2012 at 11:24 AM

        As a Dodger fan I hope you are right……Anybody who gives a 31 year old an 8 year contract is crazy. The last four years of the deal will be a catastrophe so I hope Texas is the one that gives him a crazy deal. The two teams that make the most sense are Texas and LA because of Albert Pujols. LA needs to compete with his star power in the same market and Texas needs big bats in their lineup to compete with him in the division.

  4. steviep23 - May 19, 2012 at 11:18 AM

    Whatever he gets probably wont be worth it. Starting the back 9 of his career with an injury history. He’ll probably get between 160-200 million. Thanks Yankees.

  5. yournuts - May 19, 2012 at 12:35 PM

    He would look awesome in pinstripes.

    • marinersnate - May 19, 2012 at 12:46 PM

      $189M in 2014. The Yankees can not afford him. That felt so good I have to say it again: The Yankees can not afford him.

      • mybrunoblog - May 19, 2012 at 3:42 PM

        Yankees have huge long term money tied up with Arod and Teixeira. Those contracts are like like an albatross around the teams financial neck for the next 5 years. Yanks have to sign either Cano or Granderson soon too so there is virtually no way they sign Hamilton.

  6. hojo20 - May 19, 2012 at 1:36 PM

    Buyer beware on a long term contract for Hamilton.

    • dirkified - May 19, 2012 at 2:36 PM

      I think a 5yr $125mill would be “fair”

  7. astrosfan75956 - May 19, 2012 at 2:40 PM

    Let him walk, let’s be honest about what he is. Hamilton is 31, injury prone, and has addiction problems. He doesn’t deserve a max deal.

  8. randygnyc - May 19, 2012 at 2:44 PM

    Dirkified- that worked so well with pujols.

    • dirkified - May 19, 2012 at 2:51 PM

      Randy, we let CJ walk and he signed with the angels.. he is 4-4.. We went with Yu, who is rated as the best pitcher in MLB. I think whatever the Rangers decide, it will be in the best interest for the team. I am not sure anyone has has a max deal has ever earned after they signed it. Losing HamBone would be like losing a Manning, Favre, Modano, Shaq, yadda, yadda. Franchise player is a better way to put it..

  9. indyspeedo - May 19, 2012 at 2:47 PM

    Last years MVP, putting up big numbers again this season. His injuries are a result of how hard he plays day in and day out. Making diving catches, running into the wall. This guy give 100% all the time. If teams are worried about his addictions maybe a new contract should protect the team from transgressions. Good luck Josh and I hope you get the contract you deserve!

    • dirkified - May 19, 2012 at 2:52 PM

      you got that right!! We may have a Cy Young “Yu”, Rookie of the Year “Yu” and MVP “hamilton” all on the same team.

  10. stex52 - May 19, 2012 at 3:32 PM

    Probably going to have to choose between Hamilton and Napoli, who also wants to test the waters. I’m not sure which way I would go. I usually favor a catcher; they are harder to develop. But Napoli is really more about the hitting than the catching. A challenge for Rangers’ management.

    I would probably decide based on how many years Hamilton insists on.

    • dirkified - May 19, 2012 at 4:50 PM

      Napoli has kind of settled back into the player he was before coming to Texas. I hope last year was not a 1 time thing but it may have been. We have other catchers and a couple guys that play 1st.

  11. bchapman2011 - May 19, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    The Mets are still paying Brett Saberhagen and Bobby Bonilla. The Angels are going to be a laughing stock when the Pujols deal is all said and done. I am just wondering when teams will start to back off of these stupid contracts. No player deserves to be making 30 million a year when they are 40 years old.

    • dirkified - May 19, 2012 at 4:48 PM

      Chapman, they overpaid CJ as well. They will be buried with these guys for the next 5+years easy.

    • jwbiii - May 19, 2012 at 9:53 PM

      Please stop it with the Mets deferred contracts. Saberhagen and Bonilla agreed to sub-prime interest rates on their deferred money while Madoff was returning consistent 15% returns. Those were team-friendly deals.

  12. randygnyc - May 19, 2012 at 4:02 PM

    My point about pujols was that winning the world series doesn’t guarantee a world series winning team can/will sign their stud FA in the offseason.

    Anyway, I think Ryan’s statement is a subtle remark that indicates the Rangers will not pursue Hamilton, regardless of stats or rings. I just think they don’t want to spend the money. There’s no doubt they’ve heard the numbers already from Josh’s agent.

  13. jwbiii - May 19, 2012 at 10:09 PM

    I think Ryan and Jon Daniels will make what they consider to be a fair offer, which will not be, say, a Matt Kemp contract. Hamilton and Michael Moye will think they can do better elsewhere. They may well be able to find a bigger fool.

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