HBT readers are smart

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Mark Runsvold has been reading and commenting on HBT since its inception and before that was reading my old blog, Shysterball.  I always knew he was rather bright based on his comments, but I had no idea that he was going to do something like win $48K in one day on Jeopardy!

But that’s what he did on Friday, his first day on the show.  I’m told it was a single-day record, but I couldn’t confirm that, mostly because Jeopardy! fan sites scare the living crap out of me.

Mark is back tonight to defend his title, so check your local listings.  Of course this was all taped back in March so it wouldn’t do too much good to wish him good luck, but I’m sure you’ll think of something. As a trivia nerd whose one attempt to get on Jeopardy! ended in failure — 1997; I passed the test but sort of wigged the talent search people out because I was fidgety on the buzzer during the practice game — I choose to use Mark’s run, however long it lasts, as a vicarious sort of experience. The marriage proposals included.

Oh, and Mark: if you get “baseball” as a category and you don’t get every clue correct, well, we’re just going to pretend that we don’t know you.

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.