Rangers’ Josh Hamilton, AL MVP, Agrees to $24 Million Contract

Texas Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton, the American League’s reigning Most Valuable Player, avoided arbitration by agreeing to a two-year, $24 million contract, MLB.com said.

Hamilton, 29, received a $3 million signing bonus and will make $7.25 million this season and $13.75 million in 2011, Major League Baseball said on its website.

Hamilton was seeking $12 million a year, with an arbitration hearing scheduled for Feb. 14, while the Rangers were offering $8.7 million per season. The Rangers haven’t gone to arbitration with a player since 2000.

Hamilton won his first MVP award even after fractured ribs forced him to miss most of September, the final full month of the regular season. He won the AL batting title with a .359 average, hit 32 home runs and drove in 100 runs to help the Rangers win 90 games and make the playoffs for the first time since 1999. Texas made it all the way to its first World Series, losing to the San Francisco Giants.

Hamilton originally was selected by Tampa Bay with the first overall pick in the 1999 amateur draft. He didn’t reach the major leagues until 2007 because of drug and alcohol addiction. He has been an All-Star three straight seasons with the Rangers.

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