There’s an interesting story in the New York Times today about how The Greatest Fans in the World* are taking to the McGwire stuff. As you might expect, there are some people who care a lot and some who kind of don’t. I found the quote from a long time Cardinals fan that kicks the article off to be one that most accurately captures my feelings about it all:
“It’s like when you find out your favorite grandfather didn’t turn in
his income taxes. You didn’t like him any less, but you squint at him and
look at him a little funny because you wish he wouldn’t have done that.”
Since I’m not a Cardinals fan I’ll switch out “favorite grandfather” for, I dunno, “admired second cousin,” but otherwise that kind of captures it for me.
*Have we ever figured out who started that thing about Cardinals fans? I mean, yeah, St. Louis is a great baseball town, but there are a lot of others too. Tigers fans are pretty awesome. I’ve been really impressed with Brewers fans too. St. Louis may have a better per capita rate of great fans than most places, but once you weed out the insufferable ones there are way, way more great Yankees fans than Cardinals fans in terms of sheer volume. I guess what I’m saying is that someone should give me a grant so I can study this scientifically and have us left with taking Cardinals fans’ word for it.
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.