Royals calling up Johnny Giavotella … for a part-time role

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Last week when Yuniesky Betancourt got hurt and the Royals replaced him with career minor leaguer Irving Falu rather than 24-year-old prospect Johnny Giavotella it seemed … well, let’s be nice and say odd.

And now Bob Dutton of the Kansas City Star reports that the Royals have decided to call up Giavotella after all–apparently that extra week at Triple-A really did wonders for him–but they’re not doing so with the intention of actually playing him every day. You know, because that would make too much sense.

Instead, according to Dutton, he’s being called up to serve mostly as a platoon player versus left-handed pitching. Giavotella is a 24-year-old prospect who’s hit .331 at Triple-A this season after hitting .338 there last season, and yet the Royals would rather give the bulk of the playing time to 28-year-old Chris Getz and his .630 career OPS.

In completely unrelated news, Kansas City is 10-19.

UPDATE: To make room for Giavotella on the roster the Royals placed Jonathan Sanchez on the disabled list with biceps tendinitis.

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.