Josh Hamilton Rejects Rangers' Offer

Josh Hamilton

The Texas Rangers have opened talks with Josh Hamilton on a long-term deal, and the sides don't seem close to an agreement.

Exact details of the offer are unavailable but the two sides are believed to be looking at a deal in the 4-6 year range with possible options. The initial offer did not get an immediate positive reception.

"My agent and I were disappointed with their offer," Hamilton said. "The negotiations have begun."

Locking up a player with little service time to a long-term deal is certainly not unprecedented, and it's a way for players to gain security and teams to have cost certainty.

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But this is a different case.

Hamilton has just two years of service time. He'd be eligible for arbitration next winter and for free agency after the 2012 season.

But ...

Hamilton, because he had to battle injuries and drug problems to get to the majors, will be 28 on May 21. And while his talent seems nearly unlimited -- he was just the ninth player in major-league history with at least 130 RBI in his second season in the big leagues and hit a record 28 home runs in the first round of the Home Run Derby -- he is already approaching the tail end of what are usually a player's peak years.

The other risk for the Rangers is Hamilton's health. The Cincinnati Reds traded Hamilton to Texas for pitcher Edinson Volquez (a trade that we might be analyzing for years) because of concerns Hamilton is brittle.

Even assuming there's no worry over a drug relapse, Hamilton does have injury red flags. Last season he missed time with "general soreness," left knee inflammation, a sore left hand from being hit by a pitch, light-headedness, an abscessed tooth and a bruised right foot. Despite all that, he played in 156 games and had 624 at-bats, but the Reds' concerns seem to be legitimate.

So Hamilton might have the stats to warrant a large contract, but he'd be wise to take something long-term soon.

Josh Hamilton Rejects Rangers' Offer originally appeared on MLB FanHouse on Wed, 25 Mar 2009 18:38:00 EST . Please see our terms for use of feeds.

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