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October 09, 2012

Rangers notes from season-ending news conference: Josh Hamilton to test market

The Texas Rangers are ready to let Josh Hamilton test the free agent market.

General manager Jon Daniels said the team won’t make Hamilton an offer before the World Series is over, which will mark the end of their exclusive window to negotiate with Hamilton.

“We’re not going to make a preemptive deal [before Hamilton is a free agent],” Daniels said. “No door has been closed, but we’re also very realistic when a star player hits free agency at this point and the history of them returning to the original club. We’ve got to prepare both ways and prepare the club for the possibility that he’s not back.”

Hamilton struggled down the stretch, and made a glaring error when he dropped a routine fly ball in Oakland on the last day of the regular season. That led to two runs, and the Athletics unseated the Rangers as the top team in the American League West.

Hamilton batted .245 in the final month of the season, and missed five games with ocular keratitis, a drying of the eyes caused by consuming too much caffeine.

“Obviously I think Josh would have liked to finish stronger and we would have liked to see him finish stronger,” team president and CEO Nolan Ryan said. “Will it impact our position as far as going forward? No, I don’t think so. We’ll consider the entire season because it is an entire season that affects the outcome. [Hamilton’s camp] will go out and see what the market bears, and we’ll see where we are at some point in time.”

Here are a few other notes from today’s season-ending news conference:

* The Rangers have made no decisions as to who will return to the major league coaching staff. Manager Ron Washington said those decisions haven’t been made yet. Washington and Jon Daniels said the season’s disappointing end was on the entire organization.

* Ron Washington said there is no one area he would like to see the team address this winter. “There’s every area we have to look at,” he said. “We’ve got to improve in every area.”

* In evaluating himself, Washington said he thought he could have given his everyday players more rest throughout the season. Seven players played 147 games or more (Nelson Cruz, Elvis Andrus, Ian Kinsler, Adrian Beltre, Josh Hamilton, Michael Young and David Murphy), including five with 156 or more (Cruz, Andrus, Kinsler and Beltre). “Maybe I played them into the ground,” Washington said. “That’s something I’m going to apply next year and see where it goes.”

* The Rangers are still in the early stages of planning for 2013. Jon Daniels said there have been no decisions made as to whether Alexi Ogando will be a starter or reliever; on the potential role of Jurickson Profar; and how the team will address first base this winter.

* Jon Daniels on Michael Young: “Michael filled a valuable role for us this year. He had the Achilles heel and never complained about it. As far as a lot of guys' struggles in September, he probably had his best month in September.” Daniels didn’t speculate as to how Young would be used in 2013.

* Ron Washington on Ian Kinsler’s season: “It’s been pick on Ian all year. It wasn’t an Ian Kinsler-type year both offensively and defensively. … He never quit, he never stopped grinding and he never tried to not get better.”

* Jon Daniels opened the news conference by thanking the fans for the record attendance numbers this past season. “The No. 1 message is we want to thank our fans,” Daniels said. “Unbelievable year on a lot of levels but none more than how they supported us, supported the club. … We’re disappointed we couldn’t get it done for the fans and community. Bottom line is it was a very good year with a disappointing finish.”

-- Drew Davison

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