The Texas Rangers have signed outfielder Josh Hamilton to a new contract. The Rangers extended an offer at the league minimum for the 2017 MLB season, and Hamilton has reportedly already signed the contract. A report by MLB analyst Jon Heyman states that it is a minor-league deal with a Spring Training invite attached to it.
There are contingencies within the Hamilton deal, one of which states that if he isn’t on the Major League roster on April 1, he will be released. This is a common component of a veteran deal like this one, as it would then give Hamilton time to sign with another team before Opening Day. If he is added to the 25-man roster by the Rangers, this deal will be worth $535,000 for the year.
There are going to be a lot of questions from Texas Rangers fans about this deal, including whether he is still earning money from his last contract. The Rangers acquired Hamilton from the Los Angeles Angels in April of 2015, but his second stint with the franchise didn’t work out well. The Rangers would then release him in August of 2016.
Hamilton will still make more than $28 million for the 2017 MLB season, with most of that money coming from the Angels. The Rangers are on the hook for roughly $2 million of that price tag, despite previously releasing the troubled outfielder. This underscores how desperate the Angels were to dump Hamilton’s contract after off-field issues surfaced again.
In parts of six seasons with the Texas Rangers, Josh Hamilton played 697 games. He posted a combined 0.302 average, hit 150 home runs, and posted 531 RBIs during that time. Hamilton was an All-Star five times, won the Silver Slugger Award four times, and was even named the 2010 American League MVP. During his MVP season, Hamilton had a 0.359 batting average, 32 home runs, and 100 RBIs as his final stat line.
Following the 2012 MLB season, Hamilton signed a hefty contract with the Los Angeles Angels. The franchise was looking to become a force in the American League West, with Mike Trout and Albert Pujols also helping to anchor the offense. Hamilton would only play 240 games for the Angels, posting a 0.255 batting average and 31 home runs during his time with the team.
A previous report by MLB.com shows just how shocked the baseball world was that the Los Angeles Angels made the huge free agent splash. Barely a year after signing Albert Pujols to a 10-year, $240 million deal, the Angels signed Josh Hamilton to a five-year, $125 million deal. At the time, Hamilton became the second-highest-paid player in baseball. Only Alex Rodriguez ($27.5 million) was making more than him.
There is no guarantee that Josh Hamilton will make the 2017 Opening Day roster for the Texas Rangers, but the team saw very little risk in giving him a shot at returning to form. He will likely head into Spring Training in a battle to play in a corner outfield spot, at first base, or become a designated hitter option for the team. There had been a number of Rangers rumors linking the team to big-name free agents for those positions, but the franchise may have settled on a cheaper short-term option.
If Hamilton does end up making the 25-man roster, he could cut into the playing time of Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar. Hamilton is now 35, so age may end up coming into play as well. He hasn’t played in a Major League game since midway through the 2015 season, so it’s also possible that he will need to work through some rust during Spring Training. The Hamilton signing will present another interesting player for Texas Rangers fans to watch during the spring games as he tries to make another comeback.
[Featured Image by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images]