Josh Hamilton has been out for all of the 2016 season after undergoing surgery for an ACL injury in his left knee in June. On Tuesday, the Texas Rangers activated Hamilton from the 60-day disabled list, then placed him on unconditional release waivers.
Due to some odd MLB rules, the Rangers had to release Hamilton by September 1 in order for him to be eligible to return to the bigs before May 15, 2017. Texas general manager Jon Daniels said the team is willing to bring him back:
“We plan to monitor Josh’s progress as he continues his rehab process and is medically cleared this winter. 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.”
Hamilton is still owed $28.4 million in 2017, but the Los Angeles Angels will have to cover most of that. He will turn 36 in May and would likely have to agree to a minor league deal in order to continue his career.
Hamilton has struggled on and off the field since his last full season with the Rangers in 2012. That year he hit .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBI. He then left for Los Angeles and inked a massive five-year, $125 million deal and his career took a nosedive. Since returning to the Rangers via trade on April 27, 2015, he’s continued to battle injuries and inconsistency.
The story of Hamilton’s career is both inspirational and sad. He fought his way back from the depths of drug addiction to win an MVP award, but has continued to battle his demons on and off for years. Hopefully he can get healthy and find his way back to the big leagues.