The Texas Rangers lost their best player to a division rival Thursday. General manager Jon Daniels responded by telling reporters he was “disappointed” to not receive a phone call from Josh Hamilton or his agent with an opportunity to match.
If the Rangers truly wanted to keep Hamilton, that wouldn’t have been the end game.
Hamilton wasn’t the Rangers’ first choice among free agents. Zack Greinke was. He wasn’t their first choice among readily available outfielders. Justin Upton was — and may still be. Amid the spin following Hamilton’s sudden decision to join the Angels for five years and $125 million, it’s obvious that re-signing Hamilton wasn’t much of a priority for the no-longer-reigning American League champions.
Hamilton signed a two-year extension with the Rangers after the 2010 season. The sides discussed the possibility of a long-term contract last offseason. The Rangers played their final game of the 2012 season on Oct. 5, giving them the past 69 days to get a deal done. At all of those junctures, the team could have offered Hamilton the chance to remain in Texas through 2017 at $25 million per year — ultimately the deal he accepted with the Angels.