David Freese to have season-ending ankle surgery

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Just yesterday, the Cardinals hoped to get their rookie third baseman back by as soon as next week. Now they won’t have him back again until next season.

David Freese will undergo season-ending surgery to repair tendon damage in his right ankle, according to Matthew Leach of MLB.com.

Freese re-injured the ankle during the first game of a minor league rehab assignment with Double-A Springfield on Monday night. According to Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak, it is a new injury in the same area of the ankle that landed him on the disabled list in late-June.

The 27-year-old Freese was a pleasant surprise for the Redbirds this season, batting .296/.361/.404 with four homers, 12 doubles and 36 RBI over 240 at-bats. Felipe Lopez, who has been the primarily fill-in during Freese’s absence, should be the everyday third baseman moving forward. He has a .267/.341/.395 batting line to go along with six homers and 29 RBI in 281 at-bats this season. It’s worth noting that he is currently dealing with a knee injury.

Lopez is a fine utility player, which is why the Cardinals signed him, but after trading away Ryan Ludwick over the weekend, they could be starved for offense down the stretch.  

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.