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Hector Olivera signs with an independent league team

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Robert Murray of FanRag Sports reports that former major leaguer Hector Olivera has signed with the Sugar Land Skeeters, an independent team based in Texas that is part of the Atlantic League.

We last heard of Olivera, the Padres released him last August — just two weeks after acquiring him from the Braves in the Matt Kemp trade. Olivera never actually suited up for the Padres. He hit .245/.296/.378 with the Braves in 2015-16 after coming over as part of a 13-player trade that also involved the Dodgers and Marlins.

Olivera was arrested in April last year for a domestic dispute. Major League Baseball suspended him for 82 games. He was later convicted of misdemeanor assault and was sentenced to 10 days in jail, a decision which he appealed. He is still owed, from the Padres, the remainder of the six-year, $62.5 million contract he signed with the Dodgers in May 2015.

In a Twitter Q&A last year, Braves GM John Coppolella said that the Olivera trade was his biggest mistake and that it “still haunts me.” In another recent Twitter Q&A, Coppolella said the trade “was terrible and that’s on me.”

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.