In a move that many of us probably could have seen coming several months ago, Josh Hamilton is officially out for the 2016 season. He will undergo yet another knee surgery in an attempt to alleviate issues that have kept him from playing meaningful baseball pretty much since the 2014 season.
It's weird, in a way. When Texas opted to make a trade to bring Hamilton back, I was on board with it. For the cost, it was a no-brainer. Even given the way things have gone, it's not as if Texas has been buried in exorbitant amounts of money that they owe to him. That distinction belongs to the Angels.
Now, over a year later, I'm not sure Josh Hamilton will ever play baseball again. Naturally, there will be some that question his "want" or "drive". Don't.
Players don't just have knee surgery for the fun of it, or because they'd rather limp around than go out and play baseball. Furthermore, that forgets that things like this happened:
Seriously, other than a couple of games in September of 2012, there's nothing that has ever suggested the Hamilton doesn't want to play baseball. In fact, you can look back and many of his injuries were the direct result of playing "too hard".
In 2011, he was very nearly -- and probably should have been -- the hero of Game 6. He played the entire playoffs with an entirely torn abdominal wall that required surgery after the season. And yet, he mustered every ounce of strength he had to hit a 2-run home run in the 10th inning to once again get the Rangers in position to be one strike away.
No, his exit to LA wasn't harmonious. And no, I don't think you'll find anyone that will say Josh is the best in dealing with the media. But he's still a human being. And he's one that is currently doing everything he can to just play baseball again, even if his club won't have a place for him to play by the time he returns.
For now, that's where the Rangers find themselves. Obviously, Hamilton won't retire; it would leave a ton of money on the table. And good luck finding a trade partner for a guy no one knows will play again.
Thus, I find myself thinking that Josh Hamilton may never play baseball again. The Rangers will give him every opportunity to rehab and get back out there. And he'll give that effort his full attention. He'll collect his salary -- mostly paid by the Angels -- and then after 2017 is done and gone, I'm not sure we'll see him in a uniform again.
I hope to God I'm wrong. I want to see Josh come back, be pain-free enough to be a solid DH when needed, and perhaps collect a few big hits along the way. It's just that, with the way things look now, that looks more like a pipe dream than a budding reality.