"Three or four teams" interested in Jim Thome

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Jim Thome headshot.jpgPeter Abraham of the Boston Globe went over the wealth of free agents left on the market earlier this morning.
We’ve covered a couple of them here today, including Joe Crede and Joel
Pineiro, but Scott Merkin of MLB.com passes along word that three or
four teams — including the Rays — have contacted free agent designated hitter Jim Thome. He does so with the caveat that “nothing is contractually-imminent.”

Aside from the “Thinnest rumor of the year,”
we haven’t heard a whole lot about the 39-year-old slugger this winter.
And teams that he would make a great deal of sense for (White Sox,
Rangers, Angels) look to have settled on other options. That said, Thome could be a nice fit as part of a lefty-swinging DH-tandem with Pat Burrell in Tampa.

Thome’s OPS slipped to 847 last season, but he put up an 881 mark and .383 on-base percentage against right-handers. Meanwhile, Burrell has a 916 career OPS and .403 on-base percentage against left-handers, even though he failed to hit a home run in 119 at-bats against southpaws last season.

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.