Billy Eppler wasted no time this off season, kicking it off on day 1 with a trade for Cameron Maybin. They'll be picking up his "meager" 9 million dollar club option for 2017. Not sure what the Angels will do in 2018, but that is a story for another day.
Who is Cameron Maybin? Can he fill the huge void that's been left in left field?
Maybin will turn 30 at the start of the 2017 season. He was a 10th overall pick in the 2005 draft at the age of 18. Maybin had a few call-ups in his age 20-21 season and finally stuck in The Show during his age 22 season. He bats and throws right and he is pretty much exactly that "speedy" left fielder Eppler was talking about acquiring - he just happened to be on pretty much no one's radar.
I definitely have some concern with Maybin being an every day left fielder and that starts with his injuries. Remember the last guy we had in that spot that was often injured? Maybin only played in 94 games in 2016 thanks to separate injuries to his wrist (broken) and thumb (sprained). In fact, Maybin has only had 3 seasons where he's logged more than 100 games and they were 137 in 2011, 147 in 2012, and 141 in 2015. If we are looking for a guy to play 140-150 games out there, we are definitely taking a chance with Maybin.
Maybin has an okay bat, but not much power. He has 46 career home runs in 796 games. He has stolen 131 bases in those 796 games, so at least the Angels are picking up another guy who can nab some bags. He led the Tigers with 15 stolen bases this year despite missing a good chunk of the season. He also put together the highest OPS of his career in 2015 at .801 but has struggled to be a 700+ OPS guy most of his career. Will a 650 OPS be good enough for the Angels in 2017? It will be an upgrade for sure, but the verdict is out on how impactful he will be at the plate.
The last time Maybin played Left Field was in 2007 when he was 20 years old. He's played center field ever since, and unless Eppler really is going to trade Mike Trout, Maybin will play left field and he will like it. Maybin does have range and a good glove. In 2015 he was ranked 2nd in the NL in range factor and in 2016 he ranked 3rd best in fewest errors for NL center fielders. He also ranked 3rd in 2015 for assists with 7. His fielding next to Trout, Calhoun, and our "4th outfielder" Andrelton Simmons, will definitely improve our defensive posture beyond the dirt, so long has he has no troubles adjusting to left field.
Maybin is coming off a .315 season with a .383 OPS but those numbers are WAY above his career average of .259 and .322. I'd be surprised if he can muster another .300+ season and we may see something back in the mid to upper 200 range. His OBP and speed may give him some reps at leadoff, especially if the Angels don't retain Yunel Escobar.
In short, he's not necessarily who I would have signed but he has some potential in the field and on the base paths with the verdict still out on how impactful his bat is going to be and whether or not he can stay healthy enough to play a meaningful number of games. He seems to be a bit of a risk, but at least it's "only" for 9 million and only for one season.
Either way, buckle up. Eppler is sure to make many more deals in the coming weeks and months.