Detroit Tigers: It Is Extremely Early, but Trading Cameron Maybin Looks Like Right Move

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Apr 8, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones (40) hits a double in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 8, 2017; Detroit, MI, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones (40) hits a double in the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Comerica Park. Mandatory Credit: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports /
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Detroit Tigers
Jul 1, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Detroit Tigers center fielder Cameron Maybin (4),catcher James McCann (34) and teammates congratulate each other after they beat the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Detroit Tigers defeated the Tampa Bay Rays 10-2. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports /

Detroit Tigers general manager Al Avila traded center fielder Cameron Maybin in the offseason. It is early in the season, but that looks like a shrewd move thanks to the play of two of Maybin’s replacements.

Detroit Tigers fans headed into the 2017 season knowing they would be seeing a new starting center fielder.

The position was Cameron Maybin’s in 2016, and the former first-round pick turned in perhaps the best season of his career.

Acquired from Atalanta for Ian Krol, who sported a 5.18 FIP in 60.2 innings as a Tiger, and pitching prospect Gabe Speier, Maybin was Detroit’s offensive sparkplug.

Often hitting at the top of the order in combination with second baseman Ian Kinsler, Maybin logged a 2.0 WAR and a 120 wRC+ in 94 games for the Tigers.

The center fielder also added 43 RBI, 15 stolen bases, 14 doubles, five triples and four home runs in 391 at-bats.

What’s more, he drew 36 walks en route to posting a stellar .383 on-base percentage.

Maybin made on impact on the bases as well, turning in a 2.5 BsR and a 2.0 UBR. His ability to run the bases was particularly useful on a Tigers team that has long been devoid of stolen base threats.

Overall, Maybin finished with the fourth-highest WAR among Tigers position players.

Among the Detroit players he finished ahead of where Nick Castellanos, J.D. Martinez, Justin Upton and Victor Martinez.

In other words, he was pretty integral to the team.

However, Avila and the rest of the Detroit front office flipped Maybin to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for pitching prospect Victor Alcantara.

The team saved some cash in the deal, as Anaheim is now on the hook for the center fielder’s salary in 2017.

According to Spotrac, Maybin will earn $9 million this season.

For a team looking to become more financially efficient over the long run, the trade made was the right call for Detroit.

However, as the 2017 season has gotten under way, the production of two players has made the trade look like the right call for the Tigers.

It is obviously extremely early, but these two players are more than making up for the loss of Maybin.

Who are the two players? Glad you asked.

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