In choosing Mike Matheny as their new manager the Cardinals may have guaranteed that Terry Francona won’t be in a dugout on Opening Day.
There’s been some speculation about his interest in the Cubs’ opening, but nothing indicates he’s actually a candidate in Chicago and no other gigs are available. Well, except for his old job in Boston.
Peter Abraham of the Boston Globe writes that “it seems unlikely Francona would become a bench coach” and “could work for a team as a scout or consultant while waiting for something to open up.” Television is also a possibility, particularly after Francona did so well subbing for Tim McCarver on FOX during the playoffs.
And of course not starting the season as a manager doesn’t rule out ending the season as a manager. Given his experience and success Francona would seemingly be an obvious choice to step in should a contender fire its manager in the middle of the season and it’s easy to imagine his availability causing a team to drop their current guy earlier than they normally might. If he wants to manage again it’s tough to think Francona will be out of work for long.
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.