John Farrell likely to be named Blue Jays’ next manager

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Peter Gammons, now working for the MLB Network, MLB.com and NESN, heard from three MLB general managers Thursday that Red Sox pitching coach John Farrell is going to be named the Blue Jays’ next skipper.

Legendary Toronto manager Cito Gaston stepped down at the end of the 2010 season and the Jays went on an extensive search for his replacement.

A variety of candidates were interviewed, including Red Sox bench coach DeMarlo Hale, Indians first base coach Sandy Alomar Jr., Yankees third base coach Rob Thomson, Rays bench coach Dave Martinez and the Blue Jays’ own third base coach Brian Butterfield.  ESPN analyst Bobby Valentine was even linked to the opening for a time.

So why Farrell?

Well, he’s been a member of Boston’s coaching staff since 2006 and was the Indians’ Director of Player Development when Cleveland was named “Organization of the Year” by Baseball America in 2003 and 2004.  The experience is there, especially in the ever-tough American League East, and Farrell has been a part of winning clubs for most of his non-playing career.  The Blue Jays will never have the kind of payroll that Farrell worked with in Boston, but Toronto does have several young aces-in-the-making.

An official announcement should come sometime before or after the World Series.

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.