Help rename the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees. Vote Fireflies!

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It was announced some time ago that the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Yankees — the Bombers’ Triple-A team — would be getting a new name. This to coincide with their renovated ballpark and stuff.  As has become the custom over the years, the team let fans come up with names. And … here they are:

– Blast: A tip of the cap to the area’s rich mining history, and the sound of future New York Yankees hitting home runs at the newly renovated PNC Field.

This one will help local newspaper writers come up with punny headlines for years, so it’s got that going for it.

– Black Diamond Bears: Another look back to the mining days, combined with the ferociousness of the black bear.

Actually, black bears are now more widely thought of as being on the timid-end of the bear scale, so maybe not.

– Fireflies: The state insect of Pennsylvania, and a sure sign of summertime in Northeast Pennsylvania.

My favorite. My suggestion for the mascot.

– Porcupines: A “renegade native” of Northeast Pennsylvania that displays the fighting spirit of area residents.

OK, but seems more like an A-ball or independent league kind of mascot. Maybe it would work if the hats were cool.

– RailRiders: A reference to the area’s history on the rails.

Always good when you can invoke the idea of hobos.

– Trolley Frogs: A trolley frog is the mechanical part of a trolley, and Scranton is, after all, the home of the nation’s first electric trolley car.

The “after all” is what kills me. Because of course everyone knows this. That aside, I have this feeling, given the dumb times in which we lived, if I called someone a “trolley frog” there would be some sort of debate of whether I was being racist, so that could be cool.

Oh well. Vote here between now and August 24th.  Not sure if you can write in “Yankees,” but it seems like that is still the best name.

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.