The Rangers and Josh Hamilton will hold off on contract negotiations until the end of the season, sources tell Jon Heyman of CBS Sports. Hamilton said last winter that he didn't want talks to extend into the season, but the two sides held light discussions in May, when Hamilton was in the midst of his early-season tear. Both Rangers GM Jon Daniels and Hamilton's agent Michael Moye declined to comment on the state of negotiations.
It was seen as a longshot that an agreement would be reached, with even Nolan Ryan saying that he expected Hamilton to test the free agent market. Heyman reports that the Rangers have yet to make Hamilton a contract offer, which Heyman interprets as a possible sign that the team isn't willing to extend the kind of eight- or nine-year commitment that Hamilton reportedly wants. The Rangers shy away from very long-term contracts in any case and "indications are that they won't buck that trend here" for Hamilton.
Signing any 31-year-old with a checkered injury history to a big multiyear deal would already be a risk, but that uncertainty is compounded by Hamilton's struggles with substance abuse. Heyman hears from two rival general managers that Hamilton carries too much risk to get more than a five-year deal (worth $100MM-140MM) on the open market, though the GMs note that Hamilton just needs one particularly aggressive team to potentially offer him that longer contract. One GM suggests the Dodgers could be in on Hamilton this winter as their new ownership is willing and eager to spend.
Hamilton looked to be on track for one of baseball's greatest seasons after he posted a .368/.420/.764 line with 21 homers in April and May, though he has struggled badly since, hitting just .209/.284/.383 since May 31.