Let’s leave the frontier justice in the past, OK?

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Don’t give me garbage for ripping on another writer here. The writer in question, Gregg Doyel of CBS, invited me to. Indeed, we talked about it on Twitter like civil gentleman. Turns out we both live in Ohio too, and we’re gonna meet for lunch sometime. It’ll be quite the scene. We’ll talk about why Heyman hates me so much and why Scott Miller — who may be the single most polite person I’ve ever spoken with in baseball media — has sorta lost his crap lately over A-Rod and Puig. It could be informative.

And I’m not ripping as such. This is all Doyel’s opinion and he’s entitled to it. I just take issue with part of its premise.  The upshot: he thinks it’s great that Ryan Dempster threw at A-Rod and applauds this “policing of the game” as he puts it:

Ryan Dempster threw at Alex Rodriguez the other night, and kept throwing at him until he hit him, and baseball suspended him for it and the Yankees hated it and I loved it.

That’s OK to say, right? That I loved the way Dempster went after A-Rod? … Liking what Dempster did to A-Rod feels sensible. Because what Dempster did to A-Rod looked sensible. It looked right.

Again, his take to which he’s entitled. I don’t think he’s alone either, as a lot of people felt that way while watching on Sunday, even if they weren’t nearly as excited about it as Doyel seems to be.

What I do take issue with is his belief that this sort of thing is harmless:

I’m not talking about beaning the guy. I’m not talking about throwing a pitch at his head. I’m talking about the kind of thing pitchers do all the time, burying a fastball in an offending player’s butt. It happens. Part of the game, all that.

source: Getty ImagesTo that I’d merely ask Doyel to look at Jason Heyward, who is sitting in a hospital room with two plates freshly implanted in his fractured jaw today. Jon Niese obviously was not trying to hit Heyward in the head. He was aiming at the strike zone or, at the very most, somewhere a bit inside. But if a fastball intended to go into the catcher’s glove can get away from a good pitcher and inadvertently sail into another guy’s head, a fastball intended for “an offending player’s butt” could do so even more easily.

Put another way: given how insanely damaging a baseball can be when it hits a batter’s body, why on Earth should anyone be advocating for it to be done on purpose?

If you want the game “policed” fine, let it be policed. Let it be policed by the Joint Drug Agreement, the Collective Bargaining Agreement and the players and league officials who put it in place.  But let’s leave the frontier justice in the past where it belongs.

Giants nearing deal with Cameron Maybin

Cameron Maybin
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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.