In news that unfortunately doesn’t come as a big surprise, the Braves just announced that Ben Sheets was placed on the disabled list with right shoulder inflammation.
Sheets was very effective upon joining the Braves last month, allowing one run or less in four out of his first five starts, but he has a 7.71 ERA over his last three starts. The 34-year-old right-hander lasted just 4 1/3 innings last night against the Giants, allowing four runs on nine hits and three walks. He admitted 10 days ago that he was going through a bit of dead arm phase, so it looks like things got worse.
The Braves have been using six starters recently, but they’ll presumably return to a five-man rotation. Miguel Batista had his contract purchased from Triple-A Gwinnett to take Sheets’ place on the active roster. The 41-year-old right-hander posted an ugly 4.82 ERA and 34/31 K/BB ratio over 46 2/3 innings with the Mets earlier this season before being released. Sorry, Craig Calcaterra.
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.