- Calvin Watkins, ESPN Staff Writer
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HOUSTON -- Texas Rangers president and CEO Nolan Ryan said Friday afternoon he expects the club won't provide slugger Josh Hamilton with a new contract during the season. The Rangers traditionally don't negotiate new contracts with players during the year.
However, second baseman Ian Kinsler signed a new contract during the first week of the season, only because talks were serious during the late stages of spring training.
That hasn't occurred with Hamilton.
"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."
Hamilton is off to a fantastic start, one that Ryan says he hasn't seen in years.
Heading into the weekend, Hamilton leads the majors in home runs (18), RBIs (45) and slugging percentage (.826). He also leads the AL in batting average (.399) and is second in the AL in hits (55).
"It's hard to predict what's going to happen with Josh," Ryan said prior to Game 1 of a three-game series with the Houston Astros. "Things will have to play out. I truly think he would like to stay in Arlington, the Metroplex and be a member of the Texas Rangers. I think he's very comfortable and his family is very comfortable. 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."
Hamilton said he didn't have any goals set for the season and is not worried about any possible Triple Crown run because it's a long season. He did say he's enjoying his time with the Rangers.
"I wouldn't be worried about free agency [because] I'm going to concentrate on the Rangers and play baseball for this year and that's what I'm doing," he said. "I'm praying a lot about it; God will show up whether I'll be here or somewhere else. It's not about where I want to be -- it's where he wants me to be."
Ryan expects that something will be decided in late November or early December. He said he couldn't predict what the Rangers' chances are of keeping Hamilton, who turns 31 on Monday.
Hamilton, who is making $13.75 million this season, said the process isn't difficult for him because of his faith. Ryan believes that Hamilton wants to remain with the Rangers, but the left fielder said the decision is out of his hands.
"I've got faith in God and I trust God and I want to do his will more than mine," Hamilton said. "I don't necessarily want to do what's comfortable for me or my family. If he asks us to leave and go somewhere else, it might not be comfortable. But you know what? That's going to bring me closer to him and make me have a better relationship with him."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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