Blue Jays place Ben Francisco on DL, call up David Cooper

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Ben Francisco exited yesterday’s game with a strained hamstring and today the Blue Jays placed him on the disabled list while recalling first baseman David Cooper from Triple-A.

Francisco has played sparingly for the Blue Jays, getting most of his starts versus left-handed pitching and hitting just .206 with a .535 OPS in 37 plate appearances.

Cooper has impressive Triple-A numbers, batting .347 with more walks (89) than strikeouts (62) in 162 total games there dating back to last season, but Las Vegas is an extremely hitter-friendly environment and his lofty average comes with just 15 homers in 730 plate appearances.

He’s also 25 years old, has never played a position other than first base, and struggled in 27 games for the Blue Jays last season. He could get an extended look at first base following Adam Lind’s demotion to the minors last week, although that would involve manager John Farrell having to juggle the rest of the lineup a bit.

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.