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Reds sign Jose Israel Garcia

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The Reds officially signed Cuban shortstop Jose Israel Garcia on Saturday, per a team announcement. The deal was reported by Baseball America’s Ben Badler on Tuesday and confirmed by the club after Garcia passed his physical on Thursday, but had yet to receive clearance from MLB. Garcia received a $5 million signing bonus, which cost the Reds $10 million after they exceeded the international spending cap.

Garcia, 19, is the third international player the Reds have picked up during the 2016-17 signing period. While he’s not projected to have the same ceiling as fellow Cuban prospect Luis Robert, he impressed in the Cuban junior leagues and batted .320/.426/.410 over 149 PA for the 18U league in 2016. According to Badler, the hot-hitting infielder profiles best at second base, but has the range for shortstop and the arm for third base if need be. He’s expected to report to the Reds’ affiliate in the Dominican Summer League.

Prior to Garcia’s signing, the Reds also picked up Cuban shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez and right-hander Vladimir Gutierrez last year. Per MLB.com’s Jesse Sanchez, they’ve spent over $17.5 million on 20 international prospects during the current signing period, handcuffing them to a $300,000 cap for any additional international signings they make over the next two years.

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.