Detroit Tigers: Cameron Maybin the Perfect Addition

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New Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila continued his busy offseason by acquiring outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Atlanta Braves for Ian Krol and minor-league reliever Gabe Speier.

Maybin was originally drafted by Detroit with the 10th overall pick of the 2005 draft and later shipped to Florida in the Miguel Cabrera trade. The outfielder enjoyed perhaps the best offensive season of his career in Atlanta during the 2015 campaign. The now-former Brave hit .267 with 10 home runs, 59 RBI, 18 doubles and 23 stolen bases. While his defense didn’t grade out favorably from a statistical standpoint, Maybin has been a plus defender in the past. A return to spacious Comerica Park should suit him well.

At only 28-years-old, the outfielder is still in his prime and is a relative bargain for 2016 at $8 million provided he can sustain his recent level of play.

In addition to being relatively cheap financially, the Tigers didn’t give up a whole lot to acquire Maybin. The price was Krol and Speier.

With the bullpen in flux, Krol likely wasn’t assured of a job next season. His 5.79 ERA in 2015 didn’t help. The former Washington National also walked 5.5 batters per nine innings while posting a -0.5 WAR. Last season 11 different Detroit relief pitchers had a higher WAR than Krol. That group included Joe Nathan and infielder Josh Wilson, each with one respective appearance.

After coming over in the infamous Doug Fister trade, Krol made 78 appearances for the Tigers. Over that span he threw 60.2 innings. His ERA was an uninspiring 5.34 and his FIP wasn’t much better at 5.18. The reliever did post a 2.30 ERA in 28 Triple-A appearances, but Krol couldn’t transfer that type of success to the big-league level.  

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Speier was a starting pitcher in the Boston system before coming to Detroit with Yoenis Cespedes and Alex Wilson in exchange for Rick Porcello.

After joining the Tigers’ minor league system, Speier made 33 appearances out of the bullpen in Single-A. During those games, he posted a respectable 2.86 ERA and 36 strikeouts. However, Speier is only in Single-A, and was unlikely to help the Tigers anytime soon. He didn’t make MLB.com’s list of the top 30 Detroit relievers while pitchers like Joe Jimenez, Drew VerHagen, Jose Valdez and Adam Ravenelle did. In other words, he was expendable in the right deal.

This was the “right” kind of deal for the Tigers. If Maybin can continue his 2015 form at the plate and regain his old defensive prowess, the team will have an above-average centerfielder. The newest Tiger is also talented enough that he has a considerably high “floor” in terms of potential production. Regardless of what level Maybin performs at in in 2016, the Tigers acquired him for very little.

Next: Tigers Add Three to 40-Man Roster

Avila did a brilliant job by acquiring a major-league contributor with significant upside for two expendable players who represented spare parts from previous trades. If he can continue to make deals like this, and the Francisco Rodriguez trade, the Detroit Tigers will once again be World Series contenders in 2016.

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