Beltran now playing in extended spring games

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beltran home plate.jpgMets outfielder Carlos Beltran has been sidelined all season while rehabilitating from knee surgery and hasn’t exactly been making swift progress.  Hopefully that will all begin changing, as he played in a second straight extended spring training game on Saturday, according to the New York Daily News.

Beltran is still running at less than 75 percent effort, so he has served as the designated hitter in the two exhibition contests rather than patrol center field.  When he makes contact, he jogs slowly to first base.

Mets GM Omar Minaya is hoping that the 33-year-old outfielder will be ready to rejoin the club in a little over a month and that seems to be a realistic expectation, at least for now.  Beltran is still wearing a brace, and his surgically-repaired knee won’t truly be tested until he runs the bases, goes hard after fly balls, and does other strenuous lateral movements.

For now we play the waiting game and wonder what kind of boost the third-place Mets will get if a healthy Beltran returns after the All-Star break.  He’s a .283/.360/.496 career hitter with 273 home runs and 286 stolen bases in 12 professional seasons.

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.