The Detroit Tigers were silent for much of this year’s trading deadline, but GM Al Avila pulled off a buzzer-beater Monday afternoon, trading veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin to the Chicago Cubs for infield prospect Zach Short just minutes before the trade deadline expired.
The Detroit Tigers came into the deadline Monday mulling offers for a few of their rental trade pieces. Many fans were anxiously awaiting a Johnathan Schoop trade, while others debated about whether or not the team would trade breakout starting pitcher Spencer Turnbull. At the end of the day, it was the unheralded Cameron Maybin that found himself packing his bags for Chicago.
Maybin, 33, slashed .244/.311/.415 and overcame some poor defense in right field to provide 0.1 fWAR for the Tigers through 14 games. Despite being slowed by a leg injury earlier in the season, he returned to the lineup this week and should be ready to play when the Cubs call his name.
Maybin is extremely highly regarded around the league for his hard-working approach to the game and is known as a positive clubhouse guy. Perhaps the Cubs pursued him more for his clubhouse demeanor and positive effect on his team than his actual performance on the field.
Zach Short checks in as the number 20 ranked Cubs prospect in their system, according to Fangraphs. The 25-year-old stands at 5’10 175 and, though his physical gifts are limited, his strong awareness and quick first step help him grade out as an average defender in the middle infield.
Short appeared to be on his way to a utility role in Chicago in 2018, thumping 17 home runs for Double-A Tennessee, but his approach faltered in 2019 as he struggled to adjust to the Triple-A level. In 2019, Short’s strikeout rate ballooned to a whopping 31 percent, while his walk rate shrunk to 13 percent.
Although he struggled in his first taste of Triple-A in 2019, Short has the makings of a big-league ready utility infielder right now. None of his tools are loud, but the sum of his many averages to slightly below-average skills equals a player that can likely contribute some in 2020 if given an opportunity.