Texas Rangers Right to Let Hamilton Test Free Agency: A Fan's View

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The Texas Rangers are ready to let Josh Hamilton test the free agent waters without making a preemptive offer, and I'm guessing the majority of fans are OK with that.

I think a lot of the fan base was -- and possibly still is -- ready to see the 2010 MVP take his skills elsewhere. I was ready to drive down to Arlington on Friday evening and help him pack, but I was busy writing high school football articles.

I was talking to one of my favorite sportswriters, Nick Gholson, at work the other day, and he said something to the effect of, "He's a great player, but it's time." I guess every great player and club comes to that crossroads.

Last year it was Albert Pujols and Prince Fielder.

Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth were the big names moved in 2010.

And there have been many more before that. But, there have been none like Josh Hamilton. None of them possess the power and athleticism of the born-again Christian with an incredible life story that matches his baseball ability.

I've waffled over the past few days, wondering if I really want the Rangers to retain Hamilton. At this point, want has to take a back seat to financial sensibility.

Question marks surround the All-Star slugger; the risks far outweigh the benefits.

GM Jon Daniels is right in letting Hamilton see what's out there. It's smart baseball. Texas doesn't have to match a long-term deal, but it sure can make a sweet short-term offer enticing, provided Hamilton's sentiments about wanting to be in Arlington were honest.

But here's where I think the Rangers are on the right track: Hamilton had a meltdown this year of which Rangers fans haven't seen from a single player. The No. 3 hitter lit it up for the first couple months then saw a dip, which was no huge concern.

Then the roller coaster that is Josh Hamilton came along. Rangers fans never knew which Hamilton they would see: the power slugger that could hit it out at will, or the lazy, swing at everything player that they've come to despise. Fans across the baseball world are wondering the same thing: Which Josh Hamilton will we see?

That has got to cause some pause and concern with other clubs, which will decrease Hamilton's value to some extent. How much? No one knows at this point. But, his stock was certainly higher in April and May than it is now. "Potential" is no longer in the nomenclature when it comes to a 31-year-old, injury-plagued baseball player.

The free agent waters might be a touch chilly for Hamilton, which could be good news for the Rangers.

John Ingle is a graduate of the Midwestern State University Mass Communication program with an emphasis in journalism. He's been a Texas Rangers fan when he met Bump Wills and Buddy Bell when he was in elementary school in Arlington, Texas. Follow him on Twitter @inglejohn1973.

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