On February 21, with spring training already underway, the Miami Marlins front office made a surprising signing: outfielder Cameron Maybin. His one-year, $3.25 million contract represented their largest commitment to any free agent during the 2017-2018 offseason.
But with the Marlins in a rebuilding mode and far removed from playoff contention, Maybin’s second act with the franchise could be brief. He will likely be made available at this summer’s MLB trade deadline.
A 2017 World Series champion with the Astros, Maybin previously donned a Marlins uniform from 2008-2010. He was infamously acquired from the Detroit Tigers in the Miguel Cabrera trade and viewed as a high-end prospect at the time.
Success didn’t come immediately, however, and he wound up spending time with five additional teams. Peaking as a solid everyday center fielder, he has since settled into a fourth outfielder role, especially at this stage of his career.
Maybin has been squeezed for playing time considering the Marlins’ commitment to former top prospect Lewis Brinson and strong production from Derek Dietrich. He’s registering a slash line of .226/.302/.299 for an OPS of .601 despite playing disproportionately against left-handed pitching. In addition, he has produced 11 doubles, 1 triple, 14 RBI, 13 runs scored, 19 walks compared with 39 strikeouts and 3 stolen bases. Across parts of 12 seasons, he has batted .253/.320/.368 overall.
Maybin demonstrates the versatility to play all three outfield positions (34 G in LF, 14 G in CF, 23 G in RF). Opponents don’t fear his throwing arm (one outfield assist), but he maintains an awfully impressive fielding percentage of .991, making solely one error on the year. Over the larger sample of 983 career games in the outfield, the former Gold Glove candidate has committed nine errors, leading towards a phenomenal lifetime fielding percentage of .988.
Competitive, outfielder-needy ball clubs would also be attracted to the modest price tag. As of June 27, there’s less than $1.7 million still owed to Maybin. The Marlins wouldn’t be motivated to dump that salary, but rather to acquire a low-level prospect in return.
Beyond Carlos Santana, the Phillies have been reliant on a very young group of position players and might desire the 31-year-old in a corner spot. Maybin seemed to enjoy his last visit there!
Other potential suitors include the Angels—if they don’t fall too far out of contention—and Red Sox. Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle reported that Boston is already seeking to address the club’s outfield depth with more than a month remaining until the non-waiver deadline.
Fielding offers for Maybin would be a no-brainer for general manager Mike Hill, quite frankly. Any return at all that benefits the Marlins farm system justifies trading the veteran, considering he’s likely to depart this winter in free agency no matter what.