Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports reported earlier this month that the Rangers had reopened negotiations with hot-hitting outfielder Josh Hamilton on a possible long-term contract extension, but it appears there’s little chance of an agreement coming together during the season.
Rangers president and CEO Nolan Ryan told Calvin Watkins of ESPNDallas.com last night that the team hasn’t negotiated with Hamilton’s representatives since spring training and that they expect him to test the free agent market this offseason.
“We haven’t carried on the negotiations during the season because we don’t feel like it’s fair to Josh,” said Ryan, who pointed out general manager Jon Daniels spoke briefly with Hamilton’s agent during spring training. “And we don’t want to do something that will be a distraction.”
“…We are certainly in hopes that we’ll able to work a deal out with him. But I think [Hamilton and his agent] had the mindset they’ll go through the season and see what happens and see what the market is for Josh Hamilton. It’s hard to make any kind of prediction where that will go. I think it’s probably pretty much where we are.”
Ryan expects something will be decided in late November or early December, which means they’ll have as good a chance to sign him as anyone else. If Hamilton manages to stay on the field and keeps producing at an elite level, his best offer could come elsewhere.
Hamilton, who turns 31 on Monday, is hitting .392/.444/.804 with 18 homers, 45 RBI and a 1.249 OPS across 162 plate appearances this season.
ESPN’s Keith Law reported on Saturday evening that a bad contract swap involving the Braves’ Hector Olivera and the Padres’ Matt Kemp was “getting close.” Olivera has been pulled off the field, per Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that only a last-second medical would kill the deal at this point, and that the Padres will be sending money to the Braves.
Kemp, 31, will have $64.5 million remaining on his contract through 2019 after this season, but the Dodgers will pay $3.5 million annually over those remaining three years, so the $64.5 million is really $54 million. The veteran has compiled a .262/.285/.489 triple-slash line with 23 home runs and 69 RBI in 431 plate appearances for the Padres this season.
Olivera, 31, will have $28.5 million remaining on his contract through 2010 after this season. The outfielder was handed an 82-game suspension, beginning on May 26, for his involvement in a domestic dispute on April 13. He has a .501 OPS in 21 major league at-bats this season and a .278 OPS in 37 PA at Triple-A.
Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that the Padres will consider designating Olivera for assignment. The trade is all about the salary dump for the Padres, as they’d rather give outfield playing time to prospects Hunter Renfroe and Manuel Margot.
The Athletics and Royals swapped outfielders on Saturday. The Athletics sent Billy Burns to Kansas City and the Royals sent Brett Eibner to Oakland.
Burns, 26, doesn’t provide much in the way of offense, but he runs the bases well and plays solid defense. He was hitting .234/.270/.303 with 11 doubles, four triples, and 14 stolen bases in 274 plate appearances.
Eibner, 27, was batting .231/.286/.423 with three home runs and 10 RBI in 85 plate appearances. He has spent most of the season with Triple-A Omaha, where he’s put up a .902 OPS in 219 PA. Eibner played the outfield corners in the majors, but racked up a ton of time playing center in the minors, so his versatility will be valuable to the A’s.
Burns will become eligible for arbitration for the first time after the 2017 season while Eibner has hardly accrued any service time, which might explain part of the motivation behind the trade for the small-market Athletics.