The Giants and Dbacks may open 2011 in Taiwan

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This is fun: Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News reports that Major League Baseball has proposed that the Giants and Diamondbacks open the 2011 season with a two-game set in Taiwan. Baseball has done Japan and Mexico for Opening Day before, but Taiwan would be a new one.

It would be a weird schedule too: the teams would fly to Taiwan in late March, play some exhibitions against their national team and maybe against a pro team or two, play their two game series — which would count in the regular season standings — then come back to spring training and play some more exhibition games before resuming the regular season.

The trip is certainly an odd one, and because of that it would require the approval of the players, so it’s not a done deal or anything.

Royals to sign Billy Hamilton

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LAS VEGAS — Jim Bowden reports that the Kansas City Royals are close to agreement with outfielder Billy Hamilton. He says they are “just working through bonuses and pending physical.” Hamilton was non-tendered by the Cincinnati Reds a couple of weeks ago following six seasons with the club, making him a free agent.

Hamilton is one of the fastest men to ever play the game, but he has never come around as a hitter. In his six seasons with the Reds he put up a line of .245/.298/.333 (OPS+ 70). While he has stolen 277 bases over that period, getting caught 63 times, he has never once led the league in steals, primarily because he just doesn’t get on base enough. He is an excellent center fielder, but the bat is so sub-par that even the glove and the wheels are not good enough to justify going to arbitration with him.

Perhaps a change of scenery will do him good. He will certainly bring some excitement to Kansas City. He’s a fun guy to watch play.