Earlier today, the Angels acquired Cameron Maybin, center fielder for the Detroit Tigers. I’m of the opinion that this was a huge win for the Halos. In this piece, I’ll address concerns of those who question the trade.
Let’s start with the negatives.
1) Well, the easy one is that Maybin is nothing compared to Cespedes, right?
Well, that’s true. Cespedes would cost a long-term contract, and I consider it a huge win that we didn’t hand out such a contract that restricted our payroll flexibility moving forward. That being said, Maybin has all the tools to make a successful outfielder except for raw power. His closest to putting them all together was his 2011 year with the Padres, when he put up an all-star caliber offensive and defensive season.
2) Marte should have played left field!
Marte showed promise last year but performed especially better at his natural position, third base. In fact, he hit .313 as a third baseman but only .221 as a left fielder. So actually, no, Marte is a solid depth piece for left but he shouldn’t be the everyday guy.
3) Angels overpaid in the deal!!
Actually, no. I actually laughed out loud this afternoon when I read Bleacher Report’s notification of the Angels shipping off “top prospect Victor Alcantara” for Cameron Maybin. Alcantara is a hard-throwing reliever that struggles greatly with command and got shelled in the pitcher friendly AA Arkansas this year. In 2016 he was ranked the #8 prospect on the worst farm system in baseball (us) back in the time when we had Sean Newcomb, Chris Ellis, and a pile of hyped up nothingness. It will take at least a year for him to be promoted to the big leagues...if he doesn’t fizzle out first. And don’t worry, it’s not like Detroit is terrific at developing their farm system. In fact, that’s where we got Marte from.
4) Maybin is going to suck!!
Actually, he has made some mechanical adjustments to his swing (as stated by the OCR’s Jeff Fletcher) and that’s why he was much improved this year. He put up a .318/.383/.418 this year with 15 stolen bases this year! Although he had an absurdly high BABIP this year, even with one in line with his career rates this would still be a good trade. He is a solid baserunner, has plus plus speed and above average fielding, has high plate discipline, makes contact often, and has doubles power, the last of which profiles very well in Angel Stadium.
It’s true that he’s injury prone, but that’s a risk we’ll have to take. He has played 95, 141, and 94 games over the past three years. Realistically, if he can play 118 games (the average of his last two years) at a 75% production level of last year, we will have definitely gotten our money’s worth.
Why would the Tigers sell so low on Maybin?
The Tigers have nothing to gain. In fact, they have more to lose! Maybin had a team option for $9M, but they would have to pay $1M just to decline the option. By trading him, they could acquire a prospect AND not pay the $1M option. So, for them, it’s actually better than a salary dump.
What does this deal mean for the Angels?
It means we have finally found a solid outfielder to fill our awful left field situation under market value without handcuffing our future flexibility by handing out another long-term contract. We have a potential leadoff hitter if the front office decides to send Escobar packing, and it shifts our focus to filling the holes at second base, bullpen, and the rotation.
I can hardly wait to see what else Eppler has in store for us this offseason.