I understand the pickle Brian Sabean is in. He has a top prospect in Buster Posey hitting .345 down in Fresno. Calling him up, however, risks making him arbitration eligible a year earlier than he otherwise might be, and the owners clearly don’t want that, what with having screwed that whole process up with Tim Lincecum. The media asks when they’re going to see Posey every day, but you can’t just say “we’re waiting until June for service time reasons,” because it (a) looks cheap; and (b) may not make Major League Baseball or the union happy.
So what to do? Why, you dump on minor league baseball, that’s what:
“Triple-A baseball isn’t very
good,” Sabean said. “I’m going to tell you that right now. Especially
from a pitching standpoint. Anybody who can pitch is in the big
That was Sabean’s response when asked why Posey hitting .345 hasn’t earned him a promotion. I’m sure his AAA pitchers — including top prospect Madison Bumgarner — appreciate that. I’m sure Posey appreciates that. I’m sure the front office for the Fresno Grizzlies and all of the people who buy tickets to see them appreciate that.
The thing is, Sabean doesn’t even need to go there. He’s actually getting decent production from his catching combo right now, with Bengie Molina hitting .333/.402/.457 and Eli Whiteside hitting the cover off the ball in limited play. Will it last? Oh, heck no, but at the moment it provides Sabean plenty of cover to say “we really don’t need help behind the plate right now” and have it sound eminently plausible.
But instead he dumps on his prospect and his farm team. I just don’t get that. Of course, there are a lot of things about Brian Sabean’s tenure in San Francisco I don’t get. Mostly how it’s lasted this long.
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.