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Max Scherzer joins the 2,000 strikeout club

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Nationals starter Max Scherzer became the 80th pitcher in baseball history to accrue 2,000 career strikeouts, notching the milestone in the fourth inning of Sunday’s game against the Rangers. Scherzer struck out four through the first three innings, putting him at 1,999, then struck out Nomar Mazara to lead off the fourth.

Scherzer is also one of 27 pitchers in baseball history to reach 2,000 strikeouts before his 33rd birthday, according to Baseball Reference. With 1,784 innings, he reached 2,000 strikeouts faster than every other pitcher except for Pedro Martinez (1,711) and Randy Johnson (1,733 1/3), MLB.com’s Jamal Collier notes. As far as games go, Scherzer was also third-fastest (287), tied with Nolan Ryan and behind Randy Johnson and Clayton Kershaw.

The defending NL Cy Young Award winner entered Sunday’s start with a 2.35 ERA and a 114/20 K/BB ratio over 84 1/3 innings. In the National League, only Clayton Kershaw had a better ERA, so Scherzer has a chance at winning back-to-back Cy Young Awards.

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.