Report: Mariners, Josh Hamilton talk three-year deal

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FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal is reporting that the Mariners and free agent Josh Hamilton have discussed three-year deals worth $20 million-$25 million per season.

There have been mixed messages on whether the two sides are nearing a deal or not, but the door seems wide open, what with the Rangers concentrating on Zack Greinke and Justin Upton at the moment.

Besides Seattle and maybe Texas, Hamilton isn’t known to have negotiated with any club this winter. The Phillies are one team that could conceivably slot Hamilton in, especially now that they’ve filled center field with a minimum-salaried player in Ben Revere. However, they’re working on a Michael Young deal in which they’d take on about $8 million and they also figure to sign a pitcher to replace Vance Worley.

Hamilton met with the Red Sox at the meetings, but that was before Boston signed Shane Victorino. The Red Sox will likely only be interested if he begins to look like a bargain.

At $20 million per year, Hamilton would seem to be just that, considering that Victorino got $13 million per year. Hamilton, the 2010 AL MVP, hit .285/.354/.577 with 43 homers and 128 RBI for the Rangers last season.

Martin Maldonado and Willson Contreras say they’re willing to pay fines rather than follow new mound visit rule

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On Monday, Major League Baseball announced some changes aimed at improving the game’s pace of play, something that has been a pet cause for commissioner Rob Manfred. Among the changes was a limit on mound visits whether from managers and coaches, the catcher, or other defenders. Each team will have six non-pitching change mound visits per game and one additional visit each inning in extra innings. Craig wrote more in depth on the changes here if you happened to miss it.

Angels catcher Martin Maldonado says he is going to do what’s necessary to stay on the same page with his pitchers. Via Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register, Maldonado said, “If the game is on the line, I’m going to go out there. If we’re at six [visits], and it’s going to be the seventh, I’m going to go out there, even if I have to pay a fine. I’m there for the pitchers.”

Cubs catcher Willson Contreras said as much on Tuesday. Per Josh Frydman of WGN News, Contreras said, “What about if you have a tight game and you have to go out there? They can’t say anything about that, that’s my team and we just care about wins. If they’re going to fine me about number seven mound visit, I’ll pay the price.”

Exhibition games haven’t even started yet, but two notable backstops — the lesser-known Maldonado won a Gold Glove last year — are clearly not happy with the rule change. As Craig alluded to in his article yesterday, arguments between catchers and umpires (and, subsequently, managers and umpires) are probably going to become more frequent, which would likely end up nullifying any pace of play improvements.

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Update (4:43 PM ET): In response to this, Manfred said that if a catcher or coach made a seventh mound visit, there would have to be a pitching change (via Fletcher). However, chief baseball officer Joe Torre said (via SB Nation’s Eric Stephen) that the seventh visit cannot trigger a pitching change. The umpire would simply have to prevent the seventh mound visit.