Many people would argue that the story of the early season has been Evan Gattis — El Oso Blanco — the Braves’ backup catcher who has seemingly come out of nowhere to put up some pretty impressive power numbers for a 26 year-old rookie. And with all of the attention on Gattis, it’s understandable if one overlooks the guy he backs up. That’d be Brian McCann, who smacked two homers today — one in the 10th inning — to lead the Braves past the Blue Jays 7-6 in a sloppy getaway day game.
The reason Gattis had the opportunity to become a story is because McCann started the season on the DL. But since he’s come back all he’s done is hit .281/.354/.614 with six home runs, 14 RBI and a .968 OPS in 16 games. That has left Gattis with less playing time, obviously. But not without opportunities to shine. He hit a homer today as he played behind the plate, giving McCann a chance to DH in the AL park.
As for the Braves and Jays, they do both getaway. Both to Atlanta, as they complete the final two games of their four-game series at Turner Field tomorrow and Thursday.
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.