Clubs have a chance to negotiate with their own prospective free agents, but Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said the team agreed with Hamilton's representatives that the slugger would test the market, so they'll wait to see how it shakes out.
"If you've gone this far, you're going to test the market," Daniels said. "The realities are when a guy goes out and tests the market and it's this close, you're not going to pre-empt it. I think he's going to go out and test the market and see what's out there and get back to us.
"No door has been closed. We're also very realistic about when a star player hits free agency at this point and the history of them returning to their original club. So we have to prepare both ways and prepare the club for the possibility that he's not back."
Hamilton, 31, just completed his fifth season in Texas and batted .285 with 43 home runs and 128 RBIs. But he struggled at the finish, missing five contests in a crucial six-game road trip because of vision problems diagnosed as ocular keratitis. Hamilton said too much caffeine was to blame, and when he cut down on his sports-drink consumption, his condition improved.