Rangers release Josh Hamilton, could career be over?

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Texas Rangers release outfielder Josh Hamilton

The troubled big league career of Josh Hamilton could be at an end after the Texas Rangers asked for release waivers on him. The team has said it is still interested in him, releasing the following statement:

"We plan to monitor Josh's progress as he continues his rehab process and is medically cleared this winter," President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jon Daniels said. "Given the rules in place, releasing him before the end of this month allows us to keep the door open to extending the relationship in the future."

The first overall selection in the 1999 draft by the then Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Hamilton has had an up and down career battling injuries and substance abuse, and has played just 139 games over the last two seasons. The Rangers put as positive a spin on his release as they could, but considering his recent production, it is hard to imagine them extending any relationship going forward.

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The North Carolina native had his best years in Arlington after the Rangers acquired him from the Reds in 2007. The Devil Rays took a chance by putting him up for the Rule V Draft, where he was taken by the Cubs and then shipped off to Cincinnati. He hit .292/.368/.554 in 98 games with 19 homers and 47 RBI in his first year in the Queen City, an astonishing feat considering he had never played above Double-A and had only 14 games under his belt from 2003-06 at Single-A Hudson Valley.

The Rangers were able to harness that talent while providing a solid support system for his addictions, and even though he had a perfect home, he bolted for the Angels as a free agent — where everything seemed to fall apart, including more issues with dependence. The Halos had their fill of him and sent him back to Texas, covering a bulk of his salary. He still has another year left on a five-year, $115 million deal that will pay him a reported $25 million with the Rangers only having to pick up about $2M whether he plays or not.

At the time it was thought to be a good deal for the Rangers, but unfortunately, it has not worked out as planned. Hamilton has appeared in just 50 games the last two seasons and none this year. His multiple knee injuries and continued battle with drugs and alcohol may prove to be too much for him to land another major league contract.

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