The Texas Rangers placed outfielder Josh Hamilton on unconditional release waivers Tuesday, while leaving open the possibility of the former MVP returning to the team on a minor league deal in 2017.

Rangers Place Josh Hamilton On Waivers, But Leave Door Open For Return In 2017

Hamilton, 35, underwent season-ending surgery in June to repair torn cartilage in his left knee, and he stated in late July that he projects to be completely healthy and ready in time for spring training.

The veteran outfielder was activated off the 60-day disabled list and then placed on waivers. The move was expected, and Hamilton will now be a free agent in the offseason and be allowed to sign with any team. According to Major League Baseball’s contract rules, if the Rangers hadn’t placed him on waivers by the end of August, Hamilton would not have been able to play for the team until after May 15, 2017.

Rangers general manager Jon Daniels told reporters in a conference call that he had talked to Hamilton about the move, most recently on Tuesday.


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“I’m hopeful that if he’s healthy and our roster is in a spot where we’d still like to have him back, we can work it out,” Daniels said. “But that’s still a few steps down the line.

“We’ve talked about it for a period of time, and he understands why we did it.”

Hamilton has been out the entire season due to several knee surgeries. He is currently working out in Houston and is not expected to be cleared for baseball activities before December.

Hamilton is still owed $30 million for next season under the five-year contract he signed with the Angels on Dec. 13, 2012. The Rangers acquired him on April 27, and under the conditions of the trade, the Angels are still obligated to pay for the bulk of the salary.

Daniels said the Rangers will want to see Hamilton work out before making a commitment for 2017. But they also realize that other teams will be watching as well.

“There is a mutual desire if we want to continue the relationship,” Daniels said. “In the meantime, he has options.”

Texas also recalled right-hander Shawn Tolleson from the minors and placed him on the 60-day DL, thus creating a spot for lefty Derek Holland to return from the DL and start against the Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night, a game which the Reds won 3-0. 

Hamilton was a five-time All-Star and the 2010 AL MVP in his five seasons with the Rangers from 2008 to 2012. He left in free agency and signed a $125 million, five-year contract with the Angels.

ARLINGTON, TX – AUGUST 03: Josh Hamilton #32 of the Texas Rangers makes a sliding catch in the seventh inning during a game against the Houston Astros at Globe Life Park in Arlington on August 3, 2015 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images)

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