Leadoff men Ichiro Suzuki, Erick Aybar pull off unusual feat

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As the Angels were beating the Mariners 8-3 on Thursday night, Ichiro Suzuki and Erick Aybar became the first pair of leadoff men to drive in three runs in the same game in a season and a half.
Ichiro supplied all of Seattle’s runs on the night with a bases-loaded double in the fifth inning, giving him his first three-RBI game since April 15, 2009.
Aybar singled in two runs in the second and then one more in the sixth for his first three-RBI game since Aug. 17, 2009.
They were the first leadoff men to both plate three runs for their respective teams since Ian Kinsler and Grady Sizemore did so on April 9, 2009. Of course, those two accomplished it with a bit more power. Kinsler homered once and Sizemore went deep twice in the Rangers’ 12-8 win over the Indians.
Ichiro and Aybar, obviously, were far less likely candidates to combine for six RBI than Kinsler and Sizemore were. Among AL players, only Juan Pierre was averaging fewer RBI per AB than Aybar this season and Ichiro was right there as well. Here was the bottom eight headed into Thursday’s action:
1. Juan Pierre – 14/339 – .041
2. Nyjer Morgan – 14/329 – .043
3. Erick Aybar – 16/325 – .049
4. Ryan Theriot – 18/335 – .054
5. Michael Bourn – 20/321 – .062
6. Austin Jackson – 20/313 – .064
7. Todd Helton – 16/248 – .065
8. Ichiro Suzuki – 24/362 – .067

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.