Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams is expected to come off the disabled list tomorrow, which is the first day he’s eligible after missing two weeks with a calf injury.
Adams rejoining the lineup means Allen Craig will shift back to right field after filling in at first base and according to Jenifer Langosch of MLB.com the return of “Big Mayo” also likely means the Cardinals will send one of their two rookie outfielders, Oscar Taveras or Randal Grichuk, back to Triple-A.
Taveras is the much better prospect–in fact, he’s one of the top half-dozen or so prospects in all of baseball–and the Cardinals seem unlikely to keep him in the majors at age 21 if he’s not playing regularly. Taveras homered in his first career game, but has hit just .189 with a 7/2 K/BB ratio in 11 games overall. Grichuk has been even worse, hitting .136 with a 15/3 K/BB ratio in 19 games after batting .315 with 10 homers and a .952 OPS in 41 games at Triple-A.
Deciding to shift Taveras to center field would be a way to keep him in the majors as an everyday player while also making room for Adams’ return, but the Cardinals’ brass has suggested recently that they’d prefer if he stuck to an outfield corner.
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.