Link-O-Rama: Jepsen going through 'a dead arm period'

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* Kevin Jepsen has emerged as the go-to guy in the Angels’ bullpen, but the rookie has been unavailable all week because of “a dead arm period.” As the right-hander with a 1.87 ERA since the All-Star break put it: “My shoulder is tired. I really don’t know how to explain it, but just throwing the ball you can tell it’s just … the ball feels a little heavier.”
* Pedro Martinez threw off flat ground yesterday and reportedly sounded “optimistic” about making his scheduled start Saturday against the Brewers. Martinez exited his last start after three innings with a sore neck and hasn’t thrown off a mound since.
* I’ve written a couple articles recently about why it makes little sense to get worked up about hitter strikeouts, and here’s a perfect example: John Romano of the St. Petersburg Times notes in today’s column that “Tampa Bay is on pace to score a franchise record 803 runs” and then in the very next sentence declares that “the Rays strike out too much.” So they’ve scored more runs than any team in franchise history, but we should be worried about what type of outs they made?
* Braves prospect Todd Richmond tossed eight shutout innings yesterday as the United States defeated Puerto Rico to earn a spot in the World Cup championship game, where they’ll face Cuba.

Report: Giants in “serious discussions” with Reds to acquire Billy Hamilton

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Zach Buchanan of the Cincinnati Enquirer reports that the Giants are engaged in “serious discussions” with the Reds to acquire center fielder Billy Hamilton. Talks are apparently advanced enough that a deal could be completed before the end of the Winter Meetings on Thursday.

It’s no secret that the Giants would like to make an upgrade in the outfield this offseason, as the club has also been linked to Red Sox center fielder Jackie Bradley, Jr. Currently, the Giants’ outfield consists of Denard Span, Hunter Pence, and Jarrett Parker.

Hamilton, 27, owns a meager .248/.298/.334 batting line across parts of five seasons in the majors with the Reds. However, he has plenty of speed, having stolen at least 56 bases in each of the last four seasons. Hamilton is also well-regarded for his defense, which would be a boon at spacious AT&T Park.

Hamilton is in his second of three years of arbitration eligibility. He’s projected to earn $5 million for this coming season. Buchanan notes that the Rangers are also interested in potentially acquiring Hamilton.