UPDATE: Hank Blalock, Rays in serious talks

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blalock headshot.JPGUPDATE: Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times confirms that the Rays and Blalock are sorting out a minor league contract, though Topkin adds that “Nothing is done yet.”

SATURDAY, 10:22pm: We’re well into the month of March, and yet free agent first baseman Hank Blalock remains unsigned.  That could change soon.

According to SI.com’s Jon Heyman, the Rays are in “serious talks” with Blalock.  The 29-year-old posted an ugly .234/.277/.459 batting line last season, but still managed to smack 25 home runs.  He would be a nice addition to Tampa Bay’s DH mix, which currently includes Pat Burrell and Willy Aybar.  He could also provide insurance at first base behind Carlos Pena, who underwent surgery late last season for two broken fingers.

Blalock was reportedly offered a minor league contract from the Marlins several weeks ago.

Giants sign Austin Jackson to two-year, $6 million contract

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The Giants announced on Monday night the signing of outfielder Austin Jackson. According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, it’s a two-year, $6 million deal with performance incentives that allow Jackson to earn up to an additional $2.5 million for a total of $8.5 million.

Jackson, who soon turns 31 years old, spent last season with the Indians. In 318 plate appearances, he hit .318/.387/.482 with seven home runs, 35 RBI, and 46 runs scored.

The Giants have been on the hunt for a center fielder and Jackson addresses that need relatively cheaply. Jackson will join Hunter Pence and newcomer Andrew McCutchen in the outfield.