Invasion of the Job Seekers

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Everyone who goes to the Winter Meetings knows who the Job Seekers are. They’re the black and navy suit-clad twentysomethings wearing badges that actually say “Job Seeker” on them. They’re there for the Professional Baseball Employment Opportunities job fair. They pay a couple hundred dollars for the privilege of applying for a shockingly small number of low-paying jobs somewhere in professional baseball. You see them sitting for interviews at various tables in and around the hotel. You see them walking around in packs, trying to get up the nerve to talk to managers, assistant general managers and broadcasters. If you’re wearing a badge of your own — like “media” — you see them look down at it as they pass you by and then quickly move on when they realize that you can’t help them become the next general manager of the Tampa Bay Rays.

I’ve always been fascinated by The Job Seekers, but I’ve never actually sat and talked to any of them at length. Jeb Lund did, however, and he wrote a wonderful story about The Job Seekers and the odds and absurdities they face over at SB Nation. The odds?

When I walk away to talk to the next guy, or girl, or the next one after that, I’m struck by how many broadly impressive resumes are here. They often have wildly divergent credentials, but all sound perfectly reasonable — insistent, almost — as qualification for any baseball job. Worse, their end goal of running a baseball team means that they are all trying to fast-track to one of only 30 such jobs in the world. To put this in perspective: There are three times as many available United States Senate positions, and the qualifications for them are vastly lower.

The absurdities? Dealing with John Kruk, for example. Or paying over $1,000 when it’s all said and done in order to maybe — maybe — grab a $17K a year internship that probably has you moving to Idaho or somewhere like it.

It’s a great read. Go check it out.

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.