Free-agent catcher Bruce Maxwell hasn’t found a team since the Athletics outrighted him in September, and it doesn’t appear that’s going to change in the near future, Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle explains. While Maxwell was arrested on a gun charge in 2017 and later pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct, he’s unemployed for a different reason, a major league executive told Slusser at the Winter Meetings.

“It’s the kneeling thing that might keep him from getting another job, not the arrest. Owners aren’t going to want to deal with that whole anthem issue,” the executive said of Maxwell, who in 2017 became the first and only major leaguer to kneel for the national anthem in protest of racial injustice.

Conversely, another source contended to Slusser that Maxwell’s not comparable to former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling for the national anthem in 2016. Despite a respectable on-field career and a clean off-field record, Kaepernick, 31, has been out of the NFL for two seasons. “This is not a Colin Kaepernick situation,” said the source. “This is if Colin Kaepernick had knelt for the anthem and also been arrested for a gun crime.”

Aside from Maxwell’s arrest, there are concerns over a 2017 incident in an Alabama restaurant, per Slusser, who also notes that the 27-year-old showed up overweight to spring training last season. Both Maxwell’s conditioning issues and a poor spring performance helped ruin his once-decent chance of becoming the A’s starting catcher in 2018. He ended up having a miserable season at the Triple-A level, and has since fired agent Matt Sosnick. As Slusser details, Sosnick reached out to every team multiple times trying to score a minor league deal for Maxwell, but no one bit. Slusser’s piece is worth checking out for Sosnick’s quotes on his ex-client.

More from around the majors…

  • The Nationals have shown reported interest in free-agent infielder Josh Harrison, though they “seem to prefer” Marwin Gonzalez to him, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post writes. Most (if not all) teams would take Gonzalez over Harrison, which is why the former figures to rake in an especially lucrative payday this offseason. Nevertheless, this is the first connection of the offseason between the Nationals and Gonzalez, who can play up to six positions but could be their solution at second base. He’d also give the Nationals yet another Scott Boras client.
  • The Twins have interest in free-agent reliever Kelvin Herrera, La Velle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune reports. The club knows Herrera well from his days with division-rival Kansas City, where he pitched from 2011 until the Royals traded him to Washington last June. The hard-throwing 28-year-old didn’t perform well with the Nats, though, and then saw his season end in late August on account of a torn Lisfranc ligament in his left foot. However, Herrera’s progressing in his recovery from that injury.
  • With bench coach Brandon Hyde seemingly on his way out of the organization, the Cubs have begun seeking a replacement. It doesn’t appear the job will go to beloved ex-Cub David Ross, who’s content working as both a special assistant to their front office and an ESPN analyst, Bruce Levine of 670 The Score suggests. The team has contacted former major league infielder/outfielder and current MLB Network analyst Mark DeRosa to gauge his interest in the job, according to Levine. If there’s not a match between the Cubs and DeRosa – who declined to interview for the Rangers’ managerial post after the season – Dodgers special advisor Raul Ibanez and two of the Cubs’ minor league skippers (Buddy Bailey and Mark Johnson) could be candidates, Levine posits.


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