Mauer denies report of a negotiation deadline

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Yesterday Yahoo! Sports’ Jeff Passan reported that Joe Mauer had imposed an Opening Day deadline on extension talks with the Twins. Mauer’s response? Wha?!

“I’m not going to react to every story/rumor that comes out or comment
on any negotiations. As far as that report, I don’t know where that
came from . . . I’ve always said it will happen when it needs to happen and I truly
believe that. I’m not
the kind of guy that, you know, says by this date we need to have
something done.”

Hard to say how this stuff happens. My guess: either Passan or his source — described as “a source close to the American League Most Valuable Player” — confused Mauer’s understandable desire or reasonable expectation to have something done before Opening Day with a demand that something be done then. This sort of thing happens when you’re essentially playing a game of telephone, which is more or less what all rumor reporting is.

Regardless, no one has denied last week’s report that the Twins are going to go all out to re-sign Mauer, likely before Christmas. With the new stadium and the MVP and his local boy status and all of that, it’s a no-brainer.

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.