Cameron Maybin Comes Home

Clip art illustration of a Cartoon Tiger with a Missing Tooth

Last night, Al Avila pulled the trigger on trade number two, sending Ian Krol and Gabe Speier to Atlanta for Cameron Maybin and a couple million dollars. You might remember Maybin as a former Tigers prospect who was involved in the Cabrera trade in late 2007.

Maybin is a right handed outfielder with one year left on his contract plus a team option for 2017. He had one big season back in 2011 and a solid one in 2012. In his younger days he was an elite base runner, but while he stole 23 bags in 2015, his ability to take the extra base isn’t what it once was. 

He’s been up and down defensively if you believe the metrics, but a roughly average career center fielder is a perfectly fine addition if you want someone who can handle center while spending time in left. The real issue will be his bat. 

Maybin has had one above average offensive season and has hovered below average for the remaining seasons. Maybin strikes out less than average and takes his walks, but his failing as a hitter is the lack of pop. From 2009-2011, Maybin was a perfectly fine .130ish ISO guy, but he’s been below .110 ISO since. Of course some of that is Petco and Turner, but you can’t be a below average on-base and power guy unless you stand out on defense. While Maybin isn’t horrible with the glove, he hasn’t been a star. 

So don’t get the wrong idea about Maybin. He’s a fourth outfielder by history while some upside due to his tools. He could absolutely hit his 90% outcome and be a 3-4 win player, but odds are he’s a 400 PA, 1 WAR guy. 

And that’s perfectly fine! Maybin will cost the Tigers about $5.5M in 2016 and Ian Krol and Gabe Speier. Monetarily, $5.5M for one year buys you a well below average player, especially if you want a 29-year old version. Ian Krol is not only a bad and replaceable reliever, taking him off the roster also takes him away from Ausmus who seemed to think he was cut out for leverage roles because he throws hard. Addition by subtraction. 

Speier was part of the Porcello deal and is a much more interesting piece. I got to see him once last year and the general reports have been good. He’s an intriguing arm but he’s probably two years away and relievers are relievers. It’s a cost, but it’s a small one. 

All told, the Tigers got a nice depth piece for a very low cost. The trade was a good one, but again the question is how much the Tigers think he figures into the plans for 2016. If they understand that he is a supplemental piece and not a major outfield upgrade, great! End of article. 

If the Tigers think Maybin-Gose-Martinez is a winning outfield, they are taking a giant leap of faith. They still need another bat, but Maybin does fill a role they needed to fill. Now to reunite him with Andrew Miller…

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8 responses

  1. I completely agree that the outfield as currently staffed is not ready for prime time, and that there is nothing resembling a left fielder who hits at an acceptable level for that position on hand. So are we to assume that Tyler Collins is the odd man out? Clearly, if they acquire a REAL left fielder, they will not carry the other four guys as well.

  2. Two things:

    1. I have the feeling that the Tigers plan on platooning CF and LF between Gose, Collins an Maybin. They have around $40 million in 2016 payroll left before they hit the luxury tax, and they are missing 2 starters and at least 2 relievers. I don’t see them signing a free agent outfielder.

    2. If I’m right and Maybin is going to platoon with Gose and Collins, then he’s a just a replacement for Rajai Davis. Davis cost $5 million last year. He hit for a .746 OPS, was a +3 DRS, stole 30 bases and was a 1.6 WAR in 112 games. Maybin hit for a .697 OPS, was a -16 DRS outfielder, stole 23 bases and was a 0.6 WAR in 141 games.

    If they go with the platoon, and I can’t see them not, then Maybin is a definite downgrade from Davis.

    1. It’s even worse than that, Mr. Pershing. Apparently a Maybin/Collins platoon (and bear in mind that throughout his career Maybin has hit left handed pitchers worse than right handers!) will be a replacement for what was until August the domain of Cespedes. That is a massive downgrade. I would say “Look out below!” if the Tigers hadn’t already finished in last place.

  3. When you say his 90% outcome, are you referring to a projection system, or something else? Thanks

    1. That’s what I mean, yes. Although that’s my best guess for what it will be. Detailed projections like that aren’t out yet.

      1. Thanks for the clarification, love the blog man

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