Mariano Rivera’s saves record is a forgone conclusion. A.J. Burnett probably won’t break a record this year, but he will come pretty close:
Burnett already has 23 wild pitches this year, which puts him on a historic pace. Since 1901, only five pitchers have finished a season with more than 23 wild pitches, led by Red Ames’s 30 for the Giants in 1905. Since World War I, only three players have surpassed Burnett’s wild pitch total.
And of course all of those pre-WWI catchers were using mitts made out of, I dunno, passenger pigeon down and elephant ivory or whatever, so their numbers may have been inflated.
In Burnett’s defense, they used to actually call a lot of passed balls in this game, but seem way less likely to do it in recent years. Burnett is not a victim of his catchers, of course, but he’s not getting a ton of help from them either.
Anyway, history is always fun to watch.
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.