The Texas Rangers struck a deal with storied outfielder Josh Hamilton on Tuesday with a minor league contract. This agreement includes an invitation to Spring Training.
Seeing as the Rangers outfield currently consists of Nomar Mazara, Carlos Gomez, and Shin-Soo Choo, this is an attempt to add an extra option for the outfield as well as first base, while adding a competent designated hitter in the lineup.
Josh Hamilton’ rangers deal is official. He will be released April 1 if he’s not on MLB roster and requests release.
— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) January 17, 2017
Hamilton said he is going to try and play first base
— TR Sullivan (@Sullivan_Ranger) January 17, 2017
Josh Hamilton Re-signs with Texas Rangers
Hamilton has narrated a career worthy of the baseball history books. Drafted by the Tampa Bay Devil Rays as the first pick in the 1999 draft, Hamilton made his MLB debut on April 2, 2007. He had battled drug and alcohol addiction for years with multiple stints in rehabilitation facilities. Hamilton had even spent close to three years in absence from the sport before resurfacing and eventually being selected by the Chicago Cubs in the 2006 Rule 5 Draft.
The Cubs shipped Hamilton off to the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for cash before the 2007 season. There, he played in 90 games, hitting .292 with 19 home runs. After the season, the Reds sent Hamilton to the Rangers, where Hamilton’s incredible story reached new heights.
The Rangers enjoyed five seasons with Hamilton, including five All-Star performances, three Silver Slugger awards, and an MVP award in 2010. That year, he hit .359/..411/.633, good for a 1.044 OPS, slugging 40 doubles and 32 home runs in the process. The Rangers lost the 2010 World Series to the San Francisco Giants. Hamilton also helped lead the team to the 2011 World Series, where they lost again to the St. Louis Cardinals.
In the 2012 offseason, the Los Angeles Angels signed Hamilton to a five-year contract for $125 million. Hamilton never performed well in Los Angeles, many believing it was due to his support system being so far away in Texas. After two years with the club, and a relapse that was voluntarily reported, the Angels traded Hamilton back to the Rangers at the start of the 2015 season. Hamilton played in 50 games with the Rangers, hitting .253 with eight home runs. He did not play in 2016 due to surgery on his knee.
After years of fighting drug and alcohol addiction, Hamilton battled back and eventually rose to the top of the sport. Despite constant injury and personal troubles, Hamilton proved he was still a talent worth a team’s time. The baseball world will never know what type of career Hamilton would have had. However, fans for many generations will be able to draw motivation and inspiration from his story.