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Nationals think Brandon Kintzler spilled clubhouse dirt to press


The Nationals stood basically pat at the trade deadline, believing that, despite their struggles thus far, they still stood a good chance of winning the division. It’s not a terrible assumption, necessarily. They are a much better team, talent wise, than their record suggests. All it really takes is a good week or two of play combined with a stumble or two from the Phillies and/or Braves and they’re right in the thick of it.

Even if you don’t buy that, there’s no obvious trade they could’ve made, save dealing Bryce Harper, that would’ve made a huge difference for the course of the franchise. But they did make one trade. They dealt reliever Brandon Kintzler to the Chicago Cubs. Today Barry Svrluga of the Washington Post said why:

Kintzler was shipped out because the Nationals believed he was responsible for anonymous reports that painted Washington’s clubhouse culture as iffy.

“Dysfunctional?” Manager Dave Martinez said. “I don’t see any dysfunction in our clubhouse. I see a lot of cohesiveness, a lot of togetherness.”

The “anonymous reports” no doubt refers to a story Jeff Passan of Yahoo wrote the other day in which the Nats clubhouse was described as “a mess.” That story was published just after noon on Monday. Kintzler was dealt a little over 24 hours later. For his part, Kintzler denies being Passan’s source.

Who knows who Passan’s source was — neither the source nor Passan will ever say so — but this does strike me as some killing-the-messenger stuff. I’d be one thing if Kintzler was the cause of the reported clubhouse dysfunction, but no one is saying that. He was just telling people about it. Which, sure, is not the sort of thing a team likes, but it’s also way less of a problem than having clubhouse unrest in the first place.

In any event, the Nats beat the tar out of the Mets last night and, as I said, they may still very well go on and win the division if they get their act together. If they do, I imagine they’ll look back at this time as when they all pulled together as a unit. How much of that pulling together will be attributed to sending Kintzler off will be rather interesting to see.

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.