Marc Rzepczynski
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Diamondbacks sign Marc Rzepczynski, Ricky Nolasco to minor league deals

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The Diamondbacks have inked two free agent relievers to minor league pacts, the team announced Friday. Both left-hander Marc Rzepczynski and right-hander Ricky Nolasco will receive spring training invites.

Rzepczynski, 33, has not pitched anything close to a full season since 2016. He labored through a handful of games with the Mariners and Indians in 2018 and closed out the year with a disappointing 11 runs, 10 walks, and 11 strikeouts through 10 1/3 innings pitched. His short-lived stints in Triple-A ball yielded mixed results, too, and he didn’t appear to attract wide interest from depth-starved clubs after holding a pitching showcase last month. While he may not be the lights-out lefty specialist of seasons past, however, he could still prove useful to the D-backs if he can inch toward the sub-3.00 ERA and 0.5-fWAR threshold he once cleared with ease.

Nolasco, like Rzepczynski, has a few hurdles left to clear in order to earn a spot on the D-backs Opening Day roster. The 36-year-old righty didn’t make it out of the Royals’ camp last spring, and spent the entire season on the major and minor league sidelines after posting a 4.92 ERA, 2.6 BB/9, 7.1 SO/9, and 0.8 fWAR with the Angels in 2017. There’s no certainty that he’ll make it any further this time around, but it would be surprising if he turned in worse results than the 19.64 ERA, 7.3 BB/9, and 4.9 SO/9 he managed last March.

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.