Offseason Tracker: Maybin, Escobar, Campos

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The Angels have needed an everyday left fielder ever since Garret Anderson left…

That’s a long time. They did acquire one in 2011, but that turned out to be the biggest bust in franchise history. Platooning has been the approach for most part in that span. However, production has just been stale there for a long time.

Enter Cameron Maybin.

Acquired the day after the glorious tale of the 2016 Chicago Cubs came to a climactic end, Angels GM Billy Eppler got on his horse and immediately took Maybin from the Detroit Tigers for Halos pitching prospect Victor Alcantara.

The deal was met with mixed reviews at first. Now many are warming up to it.

Maybin, 29, is a right-handed hitter with a formidable .259 / .322 / . 373 career slash line for the type of player he is, and averages 27 stolen bases and a slightly below average 93 OPS+.

The former Tiger is also a bit injury prone. But then again, so is every player to an extent. In 94 games in 2016, Maybin hit .315 / .383 / .418 with 15 stolen bases and a 120 OPS+, the best of his career.

So offensively he’s what the Angels need: a speedster with slightly above league average hitting ability. Defensively, a move to left field (a smaller work area) from center field (where Mike Trout dwells) could help improve his liabilities with the glove.

Eppler has already confirmed that Maybin will be the team’s everyday left fielder. There is still a possibility some depth may be added on to fill in voided playing time if needed.

There is also the presence of Jefry Marte. What do the Angels do with him?

What the Halos gave up in return is just simply salary dump trade fodder. Alcantara has little control of his blazing fastball and has average secondary pitches that aren’t enough for him to be a Major League starter. Maybe he’ll become a decent reliever.

So with that, and Maybin having the best averages of his career this past season, along with his $9 million dollar option, this move makes a lot of sense for the Angels. And is a bit of a steal.

If fans are wondering why the club went for a stop-gap instead of a long term investment, well go ahead and search the 2017-2018 free agent list. Maybin is probably one of the more perfect short term options to hold us over until that talent pool is open for business.

In the meantime, the Angels have more better hitting ability in left field again, and more speed on the bases. That’s what they’ve needed for a long time.

 

More From the GM’s Office

  • This was an expected move, as the Angels need to keep third base locked down. At least for now. With two .300+ hitting seasons in a row now, and no third base market to speak of, this is a wise move for the Halos.
  • There has been some questions raised about whether or not the Halos will just pick up the option and then trade Yunel for pitching. After all, they have Jefry Marte who had a fine breakout season after being picked up as a failed top prospect. Luis Valbuena is also lurking on the market right now. But these are not guarantees. With Yunel Escobar, we at least know what we’re getting. Or, perhaps they’ll deal Marte along with a CJ Cron for pitching?
  • In any case, Escobar will return and then Mike Scioscia will decide whether or not he’ll move the third baseman from the leadoff spot in favor of Cameron Maybin.

  • Here is the other reason fans are warming up to the Cameron Maybin deal. Campos was claimed off waivers from the Arizona Diamondbacks the day after that trade, and it turns out the young righty is a better prospect than Alcantara. He actually has good stuff all around, and has many more good innings logged as a starting pitcher.
  • There is one snag, however. Campos is recovering from a broken arm. Although having all offseason to recover will give him and the Halos time. Campos still needs a season in AAA, as he has only one appearance at that level. But he also had a 5 2/3 inning appearance in the Big Leagues with Arizona that saved their bullpen in an August 27 blowout. So Vincente’s timeline may turn out to be quicker than one might think.
  • Regardless, the Angels have picked up yet another young starting pitching prospect. And that’s a dire need considering recent losses to Tommy John Surgery. It looks like Billy Eppler is determined to make sure there is a pipeline of young starting pitching flowing at all times.

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