Quote of the Day: Nationals lose their 'prize pupil'

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Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo, on Jordan Zimmermann needing Tommy John elbow surgery:
The small bit of sunshine is that there’s an 85 to 90 percent success rate with pitchers recovering to their pre-injury status after Tommy John surgery. It’s a much higher success rate than shoulder surgery. We’ve got a lot of depth in our young starting pitching, but Jordan was the prize pupil. We’ll have him back, full go, for spring training 2011, though he may pitch sometime in 2010. But you’ll see the real Zimmermann in 2011.
Rizzo is right to call Zimmermann the Nationals’ prize pupil among young pitchers, at least until Stephen Strasburg possibly signs later this week. Zimmermann put together an extremely promising 16-start debut, posting a 92/29 K/BB ratio in 91 innings despite pitching some of that time with elbow soreness. For a 23-year-old rookie who essentially skipped Triple-A that qualifies as excellent, so hopefully Rizzo is also right about Zimmerman making a full recovery for 2011.
My guess is that Rizzo quoting the “85-90 percent success rate with pitchers recovering to their pre-injury status after Tommy John surgery” is a slight overstatement, but the surgery definitely has an amazing success rate at this point. However, as a Twins fan who’s watched Francisco Liriano sadly go from the best pitcher on the planet to struggling just to be another mid-rotation starter after going under the knife I can tell you that nothing is guaranteed.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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The Giants are finalizing a minor league deal for free agent outfielder Cameron Maybin, according to Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. The team has not confirmed the signing, but it’s in keeping with their stated goal of adding more veteran presence and outfield options to their roster in advance of the 2019 season.

Maybin, 31, appeared in back-to-back gigs with the Marlins and Mariners in 2018. He slashed an underwhelming .249/.326/.336 with four home runs, 10 stolen bases (in 15 chances), a .662 OPS, and 0.5 fWAR through 384 plate appearances for the two clubs, a clear improvement over his totals in 2017 but still shy of the career numbers he posted with the Padres all the way back in 2011. It’s not only his offense that has tanked, but his speed and defense in center field, all of which he’ll try to improve as he jockeys for a roster spot in camp this month.

The Giants’ outfield has been largely depleted of any kind of consistent talent lately, especially taking into account the recent departures of Hunter Pence, Gregor Blanco, and Gorkys Hernández. Even with the acquisition of, say, All-Star right fielder Bryce Harper, there’s nothing standing in the way of Maybin and fellow veteran signee Gerardo Parra grabbing hold of full- or part-time roles this year, though they’ll need to outperform candidates like Chris Shaw, Steven Duggar, Drew Ferguson, Mac Williamson, Austin Slater, Craig Gentry, Mike Gerber, and others first.

In a previous report on Friday, Baggarly revealed that a “handshake understanding” had been established with several veteran players already this offseason, all but guaranteeing them regular starting opportunities over the course of the season. How those agreements will be affected by spring training performances remains to be seen, but at least for now, the Giants appear prepared to give their newest players a long leash as they try to get back on top in the NL West.