“It’s fun being fast.”
That’s the quote of the night as far as I’m concerned. That’s how Billy Hamilton described his disrupting of Tim Lincecum and the San Francisco Giants on the basepaths en route to a Reds win.
Hamilton reached second base in the first inning and his presence and reputation clearly affected the Giants. As C. Trent Rosecrans’ game story explains, the Giants’ infielders were focusing a bit more than usual on who was covering second. Tim Lincecum was clearly thinking about Hamilton too. His pickoff throw sailed into the outfield and Hamilton scored, kicking off a four-run innings for the Reds.
Hamilton reached again in the fifth thanks to an infield single. He stole second, Hector Sanchez’s throw went into the outfield and Hamilton stole third and then came home to score on a Brandon Phillips double. After the game Lincecum said that Hamilton “flustered” him.
Oh, Hamilton also ran down a gapper by Pablo Sandoval in the third inning, turning what could have been extra bases into a sac fly.
Speed kills, y’all.
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.