Josh Harrison is quickly climbing the list of must-watch players. The Pirates’ super-utilityman and National League All-Star dipped and dived his way out of a rundown in the tenth inning against the Mets on June 27, though he did not score. The next inning, he belted a walk-off RBI double.
Harrison has done it again. The speedster deftly avoided Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario’s tag in a run-down in the sixth inning of today’s game in Colorado. The Pirates had already plated two to begin the top of the sixth against Rockies starter Tommy Kahnle thanks to a game-tying two-run home run from Travis Snider. Harrison then reached on a single to shallow center.
With Gregory Polanco at the plate, Harrison stole second base. Only one problem: he overslid the base and shortstop Josh Rutledge was guarding the return path. That’s when the action began:
Harrison would later score on an Ike Davis double to give the Pirates a 5-4 lead. In the eighth inning, Harrison broke a 5-5 tie, hitting a solo home run to right center. He finished 4-for-6 with an RBI single, a double, the solo home run, and two stolen bases in the Pirates’ 7-5 win. The guy is a heap of fun to watch.
Harrison has a .294/.330/.447 slash line with six home runs, 33 RBI, and 12 stolen bases in 302 plate appearances this season.
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.