Phillies choose drawn-out, Big Three-friendly NLDS schedule

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By virtue of finishing with the National League’s top record the Phillies got to choose between a seven-day or eight-day schedule for the NLDS, and as expected they picked the drawn-out version that allows them to rely exclusively on the trio of Roy Halladay, Roy Oswalt, and Cole Hamels in the five-game series.
They’ll open the playoffs next Wednesday in Philadelphia, but then have Thursday off while the other three division series play that day. The extra off day allows them to skip fourth starter Joe Blanton, and helps set them up to potentially lean on The Big Three to start 17 of 19 postseason games overall.

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.