Rays, Nationals have been talking about B.J. Upton

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We heard Monday that the Rays would need to be overwhelmed in order to move B.J. Upton, but according to FOXSports.com’s Jon Paul Morosi, they have had some recent conversations with the Nationals about their center fielder.

Washington has long been a suitor for Upton as it seeks to fill a big hole in center field. The Nationals have some interest in re-signing Rick Ankiel and moving Jayson Werth to center hasn’t been completely ruled out, but the team would love a long-term solution.

The problem there with Upton, besides his history of inconsistent offense, is that he’s now just one year away from free agency. He’s due a raise to $7 million or so in arbitration. Negotiating a long-term deal with Upton would likely be problematic, given his young, perceived upside and modest numbers. While he’s been a well above average regular despite hitting .237 and .243 the last two years, he’s never come close to matching the numbers he put up as a 22-year-old in 2007.

Since Upton is only under control for the one year, it’s doubtful the Nationals would be willing to give up closer Drew Storen for him, and the Nationals can’t offer the Rays any bats that would help them immediately. A match seems unlikely.

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.