Vernon Wells is close to returning from a torn thumb ligament that has sidelined him since mid-May, but with Mike Trout, Mark Trumbo, and Torii Hunter entrenched as the Angels’ starting outfield and Kendry Morales playing every day at designated hitter … well, do they even want him back?
Wells had a miserable 2011 and was only slightly better this season before the injury, hitting .244 with a .282 on-base percentage and .422 slugging percentage in 38 games. He still has 20-homer, but the combination of a low batting average and terrible plate discipline makes Wells an out-machine.
He might fit decently in a platoon role spotted mostly versus left-handed pitching, but Trout, Trumbo, and Hunter are all right-handed hitters. Morales is a switch-hitter who’s struggled against lefties, so a Morales-Wells platoon at DH could work.
Wells needs to go on a minor-league rehab assignment before coming off the disabled list, so the Angels likely have a week or so to figure out a plan for their unwanted outfielder with about $50 million remaining on his contract.
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.