Hamilton declines Rangers’ qualifying offer

Outfielder Josh Hamilton completed the formality Friday by officially declining the qualifying offer from the Texas Rangers.

Hamilton was the lone potential free agent the Rangers had extended the offer of $13.3 million for next season to. By extending the offer, the Rangers are guaranteed a compensatory pick if Hamilton signs with another team this offseason.

Hamilton’s name was a hot topic during the general manager’s meetings in California this week. According to a report in USA Today, the Rangers are not going to offer Hamilton a deal any longer than three years.

Team president Nolan Ryan said Wednesday that the issue with Hamilton wouldn’t be the annual salary because the club has an idea of what it’s going to take to sign the five-time All-Star, who was won his third Silver Slugger award Wednesday.

That would leave years as the sticking point. Hamilton, 31, has played in more than 133 games just twice in his six-year career and has played in 90 or less two in two of those seasons.

Hamilton, who is one of five finalists for the American League most valuable player, made $12 million this season.

Free agents Nick Swisher and Adam LaRoche, two players the Rangers have been linked to this offseason, were two of the nine players who rejected qualifying offers Friday.