The story of Davey Johnson’s career: he wins baseball games like crazy but then he is either forced out of by management before he’s ready to go, after which said team suddenly starts losing lots of baseball games.
In light of that, you’d think the Nats would maybe, you know, not want history to repeat itself. But they seem to think they’ll avoid what happened to the Mets, Orioles, Reds and Dodgers after Johnson was kicked to the curb. Here’s his response to Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post when the idea of this being his last season as Nats manager is brought up:
“I don’t like that,” Johnson said one warm afternoon this spring, spitting tobacco juice inside the dugout at the Atlanta Braves’ spring training stadium. “That sounds like finality. Obviously, it’s my last year managing the Washington Nationals. The Nationals are more comfortable with that than me, because I don’t really go to that point. I think you basically work till you die.”
And, reading the rest of Kilgore’s piece, you definitely get the sense that his players love him.
Will yet another team cut bait on Davey when everything is going so well on the field? Are the Nationals really convinced that they’ll do better than everyone else who has gone that route in the past?
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.