Dan Johnson signs minor-league deal with White Sox

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Dan Johnson, whose dramatic homer for the Rays in Game 162 last year overshadowed his otherwise miserable season, has agreed to a minor-league contract with the White Sox.

Johnson had a strong rookie season for the A’s in 2005, but he’s hit just .219 with a .712 OPS in 290 games since then while spending much of his time in the minors. He’s consistently knocked around Triple-A pitching and the 32-year-old first baseman can always be counted on for plenty of walks and homers, so he’s a nice depth pickup.

However, barring more trades by Chicago he’s likely competing for a bench spot at most, as the White Sox have Paul Konerko at first base and Adam Dunn at designated hitter.

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.