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“I was sweeping places out like this seven years ago or whatever,” he said. “This goes for anybody. It’s awesome to think about what God can do in your life if you allow him to. … It’s just amazing.”
The deal, four days before a scheduled arbitration hearing in Phoenix, covers his last two arbitration-eligible seasons. Hamilton can become a free agent after the 2012 World Series.
Hamilton gets a $3 million signing bonus, a $7.25 million salary this year and $13.75 million in 2012.
The three-time All-Star has a .311 career average with 93 homers and 331 RBIs in 468 major league games, an incredible comeback for the former No. 1 overall draft pick whose career was derailed by well-documented cocaine and alcohol addictions after he got hurt in the minors. He made his major league debut with Cincinnati in 2007, and he flourished after being traded to Texas.
“We want to be a part of this organization, not only for the next couple of years, but for a long time to come,” Hamilton said.
General manager Jon Daniels termed the talks with Hamilton as “very good negotiations” and said he hopes the deal is indicative of a “longer relationship” that will include another multiyear agreement in the future.
“It was apparent that both sides wanted to do something to recognize both Josh’s importance to the club, but also he and his family’s desire to be here for an extended period of time,” Daniels said. “I think the first step that we took here with this deal kind of gets through the arbitration process.”
While the Rangers settled the contract for Hamilton, they are still trying to accommodate Michael Young’s request for a trade. Young is the team’s career hits leader and longest-tenured player after 10 seasons.
After signing free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre last month, the Rangers said Young would become the primary designated hitter and serve in a utility role where he could fill in at every infield position. He had agreed to that plan.
Daniels confirmed earlier this week that Young had requested a trade, saying Young had a “change of heart about that role.” Young later disputed that characterization, saying he had been “misled” and “manipulated” by the team without getting in specifics.
Hamilton hit a major league-leading .359 last season with 32 homers and 100 RBIs despite missing most of the final month of the regular season with broken ribs. The outfielder returned for the end of regular season and the playoffs.
Hamilton made $3.25 million last season, when the Rangers went to the World Series for the first time in franchise history. When the sides exchange proposed arbitration salaries last month, Hamilton had asked for $12 million, $3.3 million more than Texas had offered.
It has been 11 years since the Rangers went to an arbitration hearing with a player.
“Obviously you want to have things behind you as far as the business standpoint, before you go start playing again,” Hamilton said. “This deal done allows me to do that for a couple of years now. … Just go play and have fun, and stay away from walls.”
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