The Astros are looking to conquer Mexico

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What did Mexico ever do to us? We took half their land under the banner of Manifest Destiny, our insatiable appetite for drugs has ripped that country apart with violence and for decades we have sent our most vapid and annoying college students to Cancun on spring break. Now we go even lower:

Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow returned from Mexico on Wednesday after meeting with United States ambassador to Mexico Earl Anthony Wayne about growing baseball in the nation and in particular the Astros brand … Luhnow said there have been early conversations about the Astros playing a game or games in either Mexico City or Monterrey.

I kid, of course. The Astros are bad, but I’m pretty sure taking California, Texas and stuff from them was way worse.

OK, now total seriousness: I like this a lot. It always seemed to me that Major League Baseball should do more to promote the game in Mexico. Yes, that’s tough given that Mexico has its own major leagues and likely doesn’t want us crowding that stuff out, but why there isn’t more going on down there has always been a mystery to me.

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.