A new outfielder arrived Tuesday at Safeco Field.
MLB.com’s Greg Johns reports that the Mariners have recalled Dustin Ackley from Triple-A Tacoma and will give him regular starts for the first time at a position other than second base. Ackley was moved to center field during his time in the minors while managing to hit .365/.472/.500 with two home runs and 14 RBI in 25 Pacific Coast League games.
Franklin Gutierrez was placed on the disabled list in a corresponding roster move. He has made only 63 plate appearances this year in the major leagues and is out this time with a right hamstring strain.
Ackley was ranked a Top-15 prospect in both 2010 and 2011 by Baseball America and has done some nice things in the majors. He got demoted on May 27 after opening 2013 with a .205/.266/.250 batting line.
Nick Franklin will continue to start at second base. He’s hitting .283/.359/.489 in 26 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.