Per reports from Andrew Baggarly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the San Francisco Giants are finalizing a deal with veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin that would bring the 31-year old into spring training as a non-roster invitee. A league source told the Examiner that the two sides had been in contact.
Maybin, who turns 32 in April, would give the Giants a right-handed hitting option in center field, which at the moment would be manned regularly by left-handed swinging Steven Duggar, who just broke the rookie at-bat barrier last season by 11 (141 total). The only other right-handed hitting center fielder is Rule 5 pick Drew Ferguson.
Maybin would decidedly be the weak side of a Duggar platoon, but he’s the type of player that president of baseball operations Farhan Zaidi values — cheap, experienced hands who have shown promise, but could thrive in the right environment.He will also allow Duggar to have a smoother first full season in the majors than he would otherwise.
Over the last two seasons, Maybin has spent time with four different teams, with an 88 wRC+ (uses the stat Runs Created and adjusts that number to account for important external factors like ballpark or era, where 100 is the league average) in each of those seasons.
A former first-rounder, Maybin’s defense has declined with age. Since the beginning of 2015, he’s posted a -26 defensive runs saved in center field. That said, he could occupy time in either corner of the outfield in competition with an eclectic group that includes Gerardo Parra, Mac Williamson (coming back from concussion), Ferguson, Austin Slater, Chris Shaw, John Andreoli, Cesar Puello, Mike Gerber, Craig Gentry and Anthony Garcia.
A career .254 hitter, Maybin was rushed to the majors at the age of 20 with the Detroit Tigers, before being sent to the then-Florida Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera trade. In three seasons with the Marlins, he hit 12 home runs, drove in 43 runs and struck out 151 times in 144 games.
He was then shipped across country to the San Diego Padres, where he hit .246 in four seasons, playing in 393 games and hitting 19 home runs while driving in 105 runs over 1,325 at-bats.
Over the last four seasons, he’s played with Atlanta, the Tigers again, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, the Houston Astros (winning a World Series in 2017), the Marlins again and finally the Seattle Mariners.
His best season came when he seemed to find his groove with Detroit in 2016 as a part-time player. Then 29, he hit .315 in 94 games, with 15 stolen bases in 21 tries, four home runs, 43 RBIs, 14 doubles, five triples and a career-best .801 OPS.
Last month, Maybin, appearing on the MLB Network, discussed changes he’s in the process of making to his swing.
“When I first came up, what got me to the big leagues was, ‘Don’t strike out, use your speed, put the ball on the ground,’ and that’s what I was accustomed to trying to do,” Maybin said. “This past year, after I left Houston, they were really big on launch angle stuff, and I kind of got some of that knowledge, but this offseason, I reached out and played with Mitch Hanniger this season, who’s an incredible teammate, incredible ballplayer, who’s changed his career. I asked him what did he do, some of the things that he did to make this jump in his career, and he gave me some of the mechanical stuff.”
Hanniger told Maybin about some of the swing doctors he’s visited, and Maybin in turn reached out, himself. He’s learned and hit with Craig Wallenbrock (Hunter Pence and Mac Williamson’s swing guru) out in California to help drive balls more.
“OPS, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, that’s where the game is moving,” Maybin said. “I’ve been blessed to be such a great athlete that I think with this adjustment, I’m only going to produce more runs. I’m excited … I feel like, honestly, I haven’t played my best baseball.”
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