12:09pm: Hamilton intends to try his hand at first base, as MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan tweets. Presumably, he could also factor in the corner outfield and DH mix. The organization has been rumored to be pursuing alternatives at first and DH, where Joey Gallo and Jurickson Profar currently rate as the top options on the depth chart.
11:38am: Texas has announced the deal. Hamilton will earn at the league-minimum rate if he makes it to the majors, Heyman tweets. That’s not surprising, of course, as Hamilton’s free-agent deal ran through the 2017 season. Most of his $30MM salary will be paid for by the Angels, though the Rangers did also take on a total of $6MM (for the 2015-17 seasons) when they acquired Hamilton.
Hamilton’s minor-league pact will give him the right to opt out on April 1 if he has not yet been added to the MLB roster. He’ll obviously hope to earn a spot in the major-league mix during spring camp, but it’s not known whether he’d look to pursue an opportunity elsewhere if Texas doesn’t offer him a big league job to open the year.
There remain many questions facing the 35-year-old Hamilton, who was expected to play a significant role for the Rangers last year but ended up requiring consecutive knee surgeries. The veteran outfielder made a brief and largely uninspiring appearance with Texas in 2015, after he was acquired from the Angels, but hasn’t put together a full season since 2013.
While Hamilton didn’t maintain his All-Star-level production upon leaving the Rangers to join the Angels in 2013, he did manage to put up a .255/.316/.426 batting line — good for a 110 OPS+ — during his two years in Los Angeles. If he can return to that sort of hitting, he’d likely be a solid piece for the Rangers, though talent has never been the lone issue. Hamilton, after all, has long dealt with balky knees and battled substance abuse, and he’ll need to maintain his overall health in order to be a productive member of the organization.