Buster Olney tweeted something really interesting a few minutes ago:
Heard this: The
Giants might wind up sending as few as one member of their front office
to the Lincecum hearing. The heavy lifting on management’s side of the case will be done by MLB, and not the Giants.
This follows up on the news that union head Michael Weiner will be at the arbitration as well.
In light of all that this proceeding seems less like a dispute about the value of Tim Lincecum’s services to the Giants and more like a proxy war with the union and MLB playing the role of the Soviets and the U.S. — take your pick as to who’s who — and Lincecum and the Giants playing the role of some rightest regime and leftist insurgency. It’s more about politics than it is about the conditions on the ground.
Which is understandable, I suppose. Major League Baseball obviously wants to do everything it can to keep
a high-salary precedent from being set and the union obviously wants a new
high-salary bogey benchmark. In light of that I assume that all of five minutes will be spent on Lincecum’s stats with the rest of it being spent in intellectual debate as to what, in an ideal world, the best arbitration-eligible player should make.
Which may be fun — livin’ on an abstract plain can be fun — but I can’t help but think that the arbitration process was designed to avoid these sorts of political disputes and, rather, to provide a streamlined mechanism for Player A and Team B to agree on a salary without all the drama.
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.