When will the Brewers dump homer-prone Marco Estrada for top prospect Jimmy Nelson?

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Marco Estrada has served up an MLB-high 23 homers in 14 starts for the Brewers this season, putting him on pace to break the all-time record of 50 homers allowed by Hall of Famer Bert Blyleven.

And yet manager Ron Roenicke gave him a vote of confidence yesterday, telling Adam McCalvy of MLB.com that he hasn’t talked to general manager Doug Melvin about replacing Estrada in the rotation despite the presence of top prospect Jimmy Nelson at Triple-A.

Nelson has been dominant in the minors, posting a 1.51 ERA and 86 strikeouts in 78 innings, but Roenicke noted that Estrada’s next turn in the rotation comes up at Coors Field against the Rockies and that’s not necessarily a good spot to insert a young pitcher just promoted from Triple-A.

Still, between Estrada’s long-ball struggles and Nelson’s mid-90s-throwing upside the first-place Brewers appear very close to making a rotation switch.

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.