Jim Leyland is not happy with Rick Porcello and Max Scherzer

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Before the season, whenever a radio host asked me to make my division winner picks, I would say something like “if I had to bet my children on the outcome of any race, it’d be the AL Central. The Tigers are a lock.” So far, not good. Sorry Mookie and Carlo, but you’re gonna have to pack your little bags and go live with the nice people at the casino or whatever.

Jim Leyland seems more unhappy about than I am, however (look, my kids can be annoying sometimes). And his ire is directed mostly at his third and fourth starters, who are not getting the job done:

“It has to get better. It’s hard for any bullpen to survive a couple starts like we had the last couple days. Two days in a row and 100 pitches by starting pitchers in the fourth inning? That’s not acceptable.”

But as Leyland notes, sending down either of them is not on the table. There really isn’t anyone else to take the job. This team, to be successful, has to have Scherzer and Porcello eat innings at the very least. To keep them in ballgames. To give the offense a chance and to minimize the amount of innings a flawed bullpen is forced to pitch.

And boy howdy have they not been doing that.

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.