Tony La Russa in favor of Arizona immigration law

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St. Louis Cardinals manager Tony La Russa says he is in favor of Arizona’s tough new immigration law, which would allow require police officers to stop anyone on the street and demand to see proof of citizenship if the officer has a reasonable doubt that the person is in the country illegally. Here’s what he told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

“I’m actually a supporter of what Arizona is doing,” La Russa said. “If the national government doesn’t fix your problem, you’ve got a problem. You’ve got to fix it yourself. That’s just part of the American way.”

Padres star Adrian Gonzalez and Mets catcher Rod Barajas have been among players to denounce the law, with Gonzalez saying he will refuse to play in the 2011 All-Star game in Phoenix if the law is still in place. And some teams, like the Brewers and Indians, have taken measures to protect young Latin players taking part in the Arizona Rookie League, such as holding seminars on the topic and issuing ID cards to players.

MLB certainly has a stake in the issue, with 27 percent of its big leaguers being Latino.

It would be interesting to know what the Cardinals’ Latino players – there are six, including star Albert Pujols – think of this.

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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.