Four days after the end of the 2012 season was too early for Texas Rangers officials to discuss in depth their plans for the off-season. Coaching staff? Too soon. Michael Young? Too soon. First base? Too soon. Josh Hamilton? At least there was one exception Tuesday afternoon. General manager Jon Daniels said that the Rangers will not make a contract offer to Josh Hamilton this month and will wait to negotiate until the five-time All-Star tests the free-agent market and comes to them with an idea of his value. Neither Daniels, team president Nolan Ryan nor manager Ron Washington ruled out Hamilton playing for the Rangers in 2013, but they also didn't say that re-signing him was the club's top priority this off-season. "The realities are when a guy goes out and tests the market you get this close you're not going to preempt it," Daniels said. "I think he's going to go out there, test the market and then come back to us. "No door's been closed. We're also very realistic about when a star player hits free agency at this point the history of them returning to their original club. I think we have to prepare both ways and prepare the club for the possibility that he's not back, but we haven't closed any doors." Hamilton was a shell of his past MVP form down the stretch as the Rangers fell from five games up in the division to out of the playoffs in only 11 days. He was stricken by a rare case of ocular keratitis, apparently from too much caffeine, during a road trip to Anaheim and Seattle, where Washington said the season started to slip away. Hamilton made two key fielding mistakes in the final week, including missing a fourth-inning pop-up that allowed two unearned runs to score and altered the course of the final regular-season game against Oakland. That loss cost the Rangers a third consecutive American League West title and relegated them to the wild-card game, which they lost Friday to Baltimore. Ryan, though, said that Hamilton's performance down the stretch, which included 18 strikeouts in his final 10 games, won't affect how the Rangers view him going into negotiations.
Josh Hamilton can test free-agent waters, but Rangers won't be diving in just yet
Fort Worth Star-Telegram | Oct 10