If Bruce Bochy was given the choice, he probably would have taken Aramis Ramirez in place of Chipper Jones when the latter was ruled out of the All-Star Game following knee surgery.
It wasn’t Bochy’s choice, though, and Scott Rolen, who finished behind Jones in the players’ vote, was forced on him as Chipper’s replacement.
Now, with starting third baseman Placido Polanco out due to a back injury, Bochy will get to make the call and Ramirez is his likely pick, he told ESPN this afternoon.
Ramirez, who has been on fire for a few weeks now, is up to .302/.350/.503 with 15 homers and 50 RBI this season, compared to .244/.277/.403 with five homers and 35 RBI for Rolen. Since Ryan Zimmerman, David Wright and Pablo Sandoval have all missed big chunks of the first half, Ramirez is the obvious choice to receive the nod.
The only thing that might have stood in Ramirez’s way is Bochy’s fondness for his own third baseman, Sandoval. Sandoval has hit in 20 straight games and is at .305/.345/.505 for the season, so he there certainly would have been some justification for taking him over Rolen.
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.