Russ Branyan initially wanted at least $20 million

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ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick notes the reason Russell Branyan is now scrambling for work and likely to end up with a modest one-year deal is that he began the offseason looking for a three-year contract worth “somewhere between $20 million and $30 million.”
Adam LaRoche had a similarly inflated initial asking price, but was still able to land a one-year, $5 million deal from the Diamondbacks once his demands came back down to earth. Branyan isn’t going to be as lucky because teams remain scared of his huge strikeout totals and skeptical that he’s an everyday player, so he’s plummeted past the $5 million mark and seems likely to end up with at most $2 million for a part-time role.
Branyan was never going to get a three-year deal or anywhere close to $20 million, but prior to trading for Casey Kotchman the Mariners offered him a one-year deal with the promise of a starting job that will probably dwarf whatever he ends up accepting. The lesson in all of this? Don’t be greedy when you’re a strikeout prone 34-year-old with back problems coming off a career-year and the one team that gave you a chance to thrive offers you a solid one-year deal to return.

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.