After months of false starts and setbacks Josh Johnson was finally shut down for the season a few days ago, meaning he ended up missing the final 120 games of the year with a shoulder injury that is still described as merely “inflammation.”
Johnson has a long history of arm problems, limiting one of the most dominant starters in baseball to an average of just 119 innings per season since his brilliant debut in 2006.
And yesterday the 27-year-old Marlins ace told Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald that “tall man’s syndrome” may be to blame for all the injuries:
It’s a matter of posture and a bunch of stuff that just kind of led up to it. Years and years of being tall, you’re always slouching down and bending over. You’re shoulder’s not in a good place. You start leaning over when you’re throwing. It snowballs.
Johnson apparently got that theory from a therapist and Spencer reports that the 6-foot-7 right-hander is “now paying close attention to his posture, standing straighter to relieve pressure on his scapula and wearing a customized shirt that helps keep his shoulders back.”
My initial reaction is to note that plenty of short pitchers have similarly lengthy injury histories and plenty of tall pitchers are injury free, but at this point Johnson and the Marlins are probably pretty open to ideas about how to keep him off the disabled list.
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.