R.A. Dickey and Kevin Slowey are going to climb Kilimanjaro

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This is one of those deals in which the headline pretty much says it all:

Dickey, a Twins reliever in 2009 who now is a top starting pitcher for the Mets, is organizing a group that will set off from Africa in January to climb Mount Kilimanjaro, the tallest free-standing mountain in the world. Slowey has agreed to join the excursion, which will help raise money for a charity called the Bombay Teen Challenge, a group fighting against sexual trafficking in Mumbai, India.

“R.A. and I have gotten to gotten to be good friends,” Slowey said. “This is something that if you get the chance to go do, you’d be remiss not to consider it. And it’s definitely for a great cause.”

Some Mets staffers — including the bullpen catcher, so be careful if he’s leading the way — will join them. I hope one of them is a trainer. I’d hate it if Dickey or Slowey got an infection after being stuck by a thorn and lied there dying, wondering whether they truly pitched enough to call themselves pitchers.

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.