Thursday, November 29, 2012
GM: Josh Hamilton unique free agent
By Richard Durrett
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Although the Texas Rangers have an idea of what they'd like to offer Josh Hamilton, general manager Jon Daniels said Thursday the club will be flexible as negotiations heat up for the free-agent outfielder.
"If you want something to work, you've got to go into it with some flexibility," Daniels told ESPN Dallas 103.3 FM's "Galloway & Company" on Thursday, adding that there's a lot of factors in what kind of deal the club would want. "If you go into it with no flexibility, you're not going to get the deal done."
Daniels has continued to keep the lines of communication open with Hamilton's agent, Mike Moye. The Rangers still are working under the agreement set earlier this year that Hamilton would get a sense of his value on the open market and then talk to Texas.
"So far that's worked out well for us because we're sorting through our options," Daniels said on a conference call with reporters before his appearance on "Galloway & Company." "My sense is that the market is starting to move and we'll see some free-agent signings. I would expect things would start moving a little bit now."
Daniels added that if the club has to make a decision that would impact its ability to sign Hamilton, it would try to speed up the timetable. But so far, that hasn't been an issue.
Daniels stressed that any team, including his own, would have to take a big-picture view of Hamilton and not allow what happened in a two- or three-week span to cloud things.
Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, hit .285 with 43 homers and 128 RBIs in 2012. But his season ended poorly. He missed five games on a September road trip with a vision problem that he said was caused by consuming too much caffeine, struggled at the plate in big at-bats down the stretch, and dropped a fly ball that gave the Oakland Athletics the lead for good in a division-deciding game at the end of the season.
The Rangers blew a five-game lead with nine to go in the AL West and lost in the AL wild-card game. Hamilton was 0 for 4 in that contest, seeing just eight pitches, as some fans even booed him in Arlington.
"That wasn't just on Josh. There were a lot of guys that didn't have great finishes to the year," Daniels told "Galloway & Company." "We were kind of flat as a club. There were some at-bats that Josh had and some things that happened that didn't look great, and I think the fans reacted to some of those, but I have a hard time solely evaluating the guy on that. I think you have to look at the whole picture."
Daniels said one reason for the boos was due to the high expectations that Hamilton has created with his impressive play the past five seasons. Hamilton was the AL Player of the Month in April and May this past season -- he had a four-homer game in Baltimore on May 8 -- but he slumped in June and July. Hamilton hit better in August, but struggled again near the end of the season. He did play in 148 games, his most since 2008.
"He did have a year with a lot of highs and lows," Daniels said. "The highs were ridiculously high and some of the lows were equally so, on the flip side. The fans reacted to that. He's human. How do you not notice that?"
Daniels was asked if Hamilton, 31, was the most unique free agent ever in terms of figuring out a fair contract.
"(He's) definitely one of the more unique situations we've dealt with," Daniels said. "It's hard for me to say ever, but definitely one of the most unique things we've dealt with just in terms of what he's done on the field, what he's meant to the franchise, factoring in all the other things, but he's also at a different age. A lot of guys get to the big leagues at 22, 23 and they're free agents at 28, 29 or 30. And because of what happened in his past, he's a couple of years past that. That's just one of the things that adds another layer to it."