Cardinals skipping Michael Wacha’s next start for “rest”

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Cardinals right-hander Michael Wacha will not make his scheduled start Sunday, but the team says he’s healthy and they’re simply giving the 22-year-old some rest to limit his workload.

Wacha has thrown 90.1 innings through 15 starts, putting him on pace for right around 200 innings on the season. Last year he logged 150 innings between the minors and majors.

His sophomore campaign has been every bit as impressive as his standout rookie season, with Wacha posting a 2.79 ERA and 83/26 K/BB ratio in 90 innings to basically match his numbers in most key categories. He tossed six innings of one-run ball against the Mets last time out, striking out seven batters, and hasn’t topped 100 pitches in a start since May 15.

Here’s hoping it’s just a one-start break and Wacha picks up right where he left off next week. Carlos Martinez, who moved from the bullpen to fill in for Adam Wainwright this week, will now start in place of Wacha.

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.