Now that the Orioles have signed center fielder Adam Jones, manager Buck Showalter, and general manager Dan Duquette to long-term contract extensions Matt Wieters would also like to sign up for the long haul in Baltimore.
Wieters told Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun that he’s “always been interested” in a long-term deal because “it’s a fun place to play and it’s a place where I enjoy playing.”
Wieters is arbitration eligible for the first time this season, which means he’s already under team control through 2015 and won’t be a free agent until age 30. To sign a good but not great catcher to a long-term extension that goes into his 30s would be a risk for the Orioles, although obviously it all depends on Wieters’ asking price.
He hasn’t quite lived up to the prospect hype as the next big thing, but Wieters has been very solid during the past two seasons while winning back-to-back Gold Glove awards and hitting .255 with 45 homers and a .771 OPS in 283 games.
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.