Besides Giancarlo Stanton and maybe right-hander Jose Fernandez, the Marlins’ shining light this year was going to be their remarkable Double-A outfield; Christian Yelich is one of baseball’s very best prospects and both Jake Marisnick, who was acquired from the Blue Jays in the Jose Reyes trade, and Marcell Ozuna rate comfortably within the top 100.
However, the Sun Sentinel’s Juan C. Rodriguez reports that each member of that trio is set to start the season on the DL. Yelich has plantar faciitis, while both Marisnick and Ozuna are sidelined with fractured hands.
Yelich is expected back the soonest. The 21-year-old caught the eyes of everyone while hitting .364/.451/.818 with five homers, 14 RBI and a 7/6 K/BB ratio in 44 at-bats this spring. Assuming a quick recovery, he has a very good chance of taking over as the Marlins’ center fielder in May or June.
Marisnick and Ozuna are further away both in their recoveries and from reaching the the majors, though Ozuna might get a look in the second half. The Marlins’ plan was for Yelich and Marisnick to split time between center and left for Jacksonville, with Ozuna starting in right.
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.