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Shocker: the Rangers new ballpark will cost taxpayers more than initially claimed

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Ballparks and stadiums often end up costing more than initially projected. Things happen, costs spiral and the optimism of the groundbreaking eventually gives way to the realities of construction schedules.

In Texas they haven’t even turned one shovel of dirt on the Rangers new ballpark yet, but it’s already costing taxpayers more than they were initially told it would. Not because of cost overruns, however, but because the taxpayers were basically lied to.

As this report from WFAA-TV makes clear, the Rangers and public officials sold the new stadium as a 50-50 split between the team and taxpayers. It turns out, however, that a big chunk of tax revenue — ticket and parking taxes which almost always go to the government and are used to fund the public’s share of a stadium project —  are being handed over to the Rangers who will us it to fund their “50 percent” share. As Barry Petchesky of Deadspin characterizes it:

So Arlington is on the hook for its pledged $500 million, plus another $300 million that it ought to be raising from tickets and parking that will instead go right into the Rangers’ owners’ pockets. Those owners will ultimately have to pay just $200 million of their own money to get their fancy-ass new ballpark.

It’s rare that anything in these publicly-financed ballpark deals surprises me anymore. But this one actually surprises me. The audacity of the cash grab/giveaway and the contempt officials have for the public in selling this as a 50-50 split is simply remarkable.

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.