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Hamilton to Rangers: Gimme a Deal!

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    NEWSLETTERS

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    ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 20: Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers hits an RBI sacrifice fly ball to tie the game in the ninth inning during Game Two of the MLB World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on October 20, 2011 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

    Prior to last season, the Rangers put off the inevitable.

    By signing Josh Hamilton to a 2-year, $24 million deal the Rangers put off having to eventually give the superstar outfielder a long-term deal for at least the time being.

    Hamilton, whose story is well known and who is basically a guarantee to miss at least a month every season, was coming off an MVP season before inking the two-year deal.

    Now, it's time to start thinking about what to do with the future of Hamilton.

    The superstar's deal runs up after the 2012 season, and the last thing the Rangers really want is for Hamilton to hit the open market.

    Hamilton said this week that he wants a deal in place before the 2012 season starts, but he won't be too upset if there isn't.

    "Obviously, I love it here," Hamilton said of Texas. "It always comes down to be treated fairly."

    Now the Rangers just have to decide what "fair" is for a guy that is a transcendent player of the once-a-generation type, but is also a guy with a riddled past including heavy drug use in his early 20s.

    Now at 31, does he have the body of a typical 31-year-old? More than likely not.

    The Rangers have to decide if they want to give Hamilton a deal that would likely be at least five years and for well over $100 million, or if they want to let him walk.

    But they need to make that decision in the near future because the last thing you want is for him to be on the open market and having to compete with other teams. Hamilton is a guy that sounds like he could give a bit of a hometown discount, especially for a club that took a leap of faith with him, so they'd be wise to jump on this pretty quickly. Unless, of course, he's not in their future plans beyond 2012.