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Report: Twins to meet with Yu Darvish

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The Twins are “hoping to get a meeting” with free agent right-hander Yu Darvish in the near future, Darren Wolfson of KSTP reported Friday. Darvish is one of the biggest free agents still on the market this winter, and the Twins have made no attempts to conceal their interest in him, though Wolfson says there’s no reason to believe the club has presented a formal offer just yet.

Darvish, 31, split from the Rangers last July in a deadline trade to the Dodgers. His second-half resurgence in Los Angeles lifted him to a combined 10-12 record in 31 starts for the two teams, augmented by his fourth career All-Star nomination and a 3.86 ERA, 2.8 BB/9 and 10.1 SO/9 in 186 2/3 innings. Despite his brief and disappointing performance in the 2017 World Series, he still fits the bill as a front-end starter and is expected to command a long-term deal in excess of $100 million.

Competition for the righty is fierce, but Darvish doesn’t appear to have entered serious negotiations with any of the suitors named so far. He met with the Cubs and Astros early in the week and took a meeting with the Rangers as well, though Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports the latter was an informal meeting between friends and not anything resembling contract discussions. Not only are the Twins positioned to contend again in 2018, but they have the financial flexibility to make a lucrative offer (not to mention plenty of space for an ace in their rotation) and may very well end up being a frontrunner for Darvish’s services.

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.