On Monday night Alfonso Soriano hit a long fly ball that, had he been running out of the box instead of watching his handiwork, would have probably been a triple. It did not go unnoticed by Cubs’
radio TV announcer Bob Brenly, who snarked “wouldn’t it be refreshing if we could get our left-fielder to run as
hard as Ted Lilly does?” referring to Lilly’s attempted steal during a rehab start in Peoria.
He went on, saying that Soriano’s lack of hustle “sets a bad precedent to the team,” and sends “a bad message to the younger
players.” Which would be a damning criticism if the Cubs actually had any younger players.
Seriously, though, Brenly has a point. Sure, old managers saying that guys don’t hustle is not exactly a newsworthy occurrence, but Alfonso Soriano doesn’t need to be making himself a point of contention at the moment. It’s not often that a team will simply eat $90 million by cutting a guy, but it’s not totally fantastical to think that it could happen here.
The new owners aren’t psychologically or politically invested in that awful contract and if the team tanks — as it appears it very well might — cutting loose a seemingly lackadaisical symbol of the failed former regime may actually win them some fan support. The manager is probably going to retire after this season. It wouldn’t be shocking to see the GM canned this fall as well. Why not clean out the dead wood leftfielder too?
I guess what I’m saying is that if I were Alfonso Soriano I’d at least try to hustle a little bit, because while your mileage may vary, it seems like getting $90 million to play baseball would be preferable to getting $90 million to do nothing.
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.