As a good and proper fanboy, I felt obligated to swing by Fredi Gonzalez’s managerial availability a few minutes ago. Of note:
- He likes the team. Said “we have a lot of good players.” Whew! I can’t imagine the awkwardness that would go down if he said all the players sucked;
- He is obviously happy to be in Atlanta and out of Miami. He said that he’s been recognized out around town in Atlanta by fans more in the couple if months since he’s been hired than he was recognized as the Marlins guy during his entire tenure in Miami.
- He was asked about what the team might be doing between now and spring training. Short answer: not a ton. More on the bullpen obviously. Backup outfield too. That’s about it. To that end he said that the team has discussed bringing Andruw Jones back as a fourth or fifth outfielder. Others say that’s not terribly likely, however.
Interesting stuff listening to the manager whose team you root for in that setting. The urge to plead with him not to do a bunch of things you fear he’ll do this season is really, really strong. Thank God I’m a pro.
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.