The Rays sign Jose Molina

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This has been a long time coming — it was first reported a couple of weeks ago — but the Rays have finally signed Jose Molina. It’s a one-year deal for $1.8 million with a club option.

Of course, when this was first reported, Molina was supposed to be John Jaso’s backup.  Jaso was traded to Seattle last night.  If they’re interested in defense-first, Molina is a great option. But he has only caught 100 games in a season once in his career, so the Rays are still likely to snag another catcher. Ramon Hernandez? Go all-in with Robinson Chirinos?

Hard to say, but now that there’s a Molina there, there is some semblance of stability. I mean, that’s what Molinas do.

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.