Michael Bourn rumors intensify; Braves getting ‘more involved’

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The Astros might as well continue remaking the team after trading Hunter Pence to Philadelphia, so Michael Bourn could be the next to go.  ESPN.com’s Jerry Crasnick claims the “Astros’ efforts to move Bourn are picking up steam,” while FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal reports the Braves are getting “more involved.”

Bourn is hitting .304/.364/.405 this season, and he leads the majors with 39 steals in 46 attempts.  The Reds are also thought to be very interested in him as they look for a true leadoff hitter.

Bourn probably won’t bring as much in return as Pence, in part because he’s only under control for one more year.  He makes $4.4 million this season, and he’s probably looking at a raise to $7 million or so in his final year of arbitration next season.

It was reported earlier Saturday that the Braves were willing to give up left-hander Mike Minor in a Pence deal with the Astros.  If they’re willing to surrender him for Bourn instead, they’d be the heavy favorites here.  The Braves, though, could likely get Coco Crisp instead without surrendering a top prospect.  They’re also in the mix for B.J. Upton.

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.