Marlins owner non-committal about keeping Jack McKeon

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Jeffrey Loria spoke to the media today for the first time since June and the Marlins owner was non-committal about retaining Jack McKeon as manager beyond this season, saying:

We’ll see where we are at the end of the year. There could be a number of candidates but right now Jack is the manager and we’ll see where it goes at the end of the year. There is a chance, of course. I’m not ruling anything out. But it will have to be somebody with experience. I’m not gonna allow a repeat of what happened this year.

McKeon has the market cornered on experience, obviously, and he’s successfully turned the Marlins around with a 12-8 record since taking over for Edwin Rodriguez.

Loria blamed Rodriguez and former hitting coach John Mallee for most of the pre-McKeon problems and was understandably full of praise for the 80-year-old manager, saying: “I mean, Jack, let’s face it, he’s brilliant. And I don’t care if he’s 180 years old. He’s got his hand on the pulse of this team and everybody on it.”

If the Marlins finish above .500–and they’re currently in last place at 44-48–it would seem like a no-brainer to offer McKeon the 2012 job as long as he’s actually interested in taking it. Throughout his career he’s never stayed in one place for very long and who knows what he’ll want to do at age 81. My grandpa is only a few years older than that and mostly just wants to nap and read obituaries.

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.