Josh Hamilton provided yet another reminder that he’s one of the game’s elite players last night, hitting four home runs against the Orioles. He already has 14 home runs this year and he leads the American League in batting average (.406), on-base percentage (.458) and slugging percentage (.840). He’s on track for free agency following the 2012 season; here’s the latest on his contract status:
- The Texas star doesn't believe that the uncertainty will become a distraction this season, writes Evan Grant of the Dallas News. "I've been completely able to block it out," said Hamilton. "It's out of of my hands. If I end up with Texas, great; I'll be happy to be here. If not, I'll be happy to go wherever God sends us."
- Hamilton maintains that he knows nothing of the contract talks between the Rangers and his agent Mike Moye, writes Jeff Wilson of the Star-Telegram. The outfielder also boasted of his impressive production in limited games versus the numbers of others in full seasons.
- Jim Bowden suggests Hamilton’s next contract will pay him $23-26MM per season in a piece at ESPN.com. Bowden expects Hamilton to sign a deal that includes vesting options to protect his team from off-field issues or injuries.
- Hamilton has said he'll talk to the Rangers first if he reaches free agency after the season, Anthony Andro of FOXSportsSouthwest.com reports.
- The Rangers have reopened negotiations and are discussing a long-term deal, Yahoo’s Jeff Passan reports. However, the team remains wary of handing out a contract such as the ten-year, $240MM deal Albert Pujols obtained or the nine-year, $214MM deal Prince Fielder obtained.
- Following yesterday’s performance, three general managers told Passan they’d have trouble giving Hamilton much more than six years, even if he plays a full, healthy season in 2012. GMs believe Hamilton may end up seeking a shorter-term deal at a higher average annual value.
- Though Hamilton’s asking price is on the rise, he downplayed contract talk, according to ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick. "I'm under contract with the Rangers for this season and that's the way I'm treating it," Hamilton said. "I'm getting paid to play baseball for the Rangers and I'm going to give them everything I've got and try to do the best I can for them."
- Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports says last night wasn't about contract talks. "This was a night to celebrate one of the most gifted athletes ever to play the game, to revel in who he is, right now."
- Hamilton's past addiction and health issues make it tough for the Rangers to commit to him long-term, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.