General manager Al Avila promised to lower the Detroit Tigers’ payroll this offseason, and he got off to a quick start on Thursday, trading Cameron Maybin to the Los Angeles Angels according to Fox Sports’ Ken Rosenthal and MLB.com’s Jason Beck. The Angels will pick up Maybin’s $9 million contract option for the 2017 season. In return, the Tigers will receive right-handed pitcher Victor Alcantara, who was ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Angels’ system prior to 2016 by Baseball America.
Maybin, who was originally drafted by the Tigers in the first round of the 2004 amateur draft, had a resurgent 2016 season in Detroit. Acquired from the Atlanta Braves via trade in November 2015, Maybin hit .315/.383/.418 with 23 extra base hits and 15 stolen bases in 391 plate appearances. He was a catalyst for the Tigers’ offense hitting in front of Miguel Cabrera, scoring 65 runs in just 91 games played. Maybin was worth 1.9 rWAR, a total that would have been higher had he not graded out negatively as a defender.
Unfortunately, Maybin’s worst enemy throughout his career has been his own body, and he was once again bothered by a plethora of nagging injuries in 2016. He missed a month of action at the start of the season after breaking his left hand in spring training, and spent a number of games on the bench during the season for thumb, wrist, and shoulder injuries.
While Alcantara is ranked highly in the Angels’ organization, they possess arguably the shallowest farm system in baseball. Alcantara is a 23-year-old righthander who pitched at Double-A Arkansas last season. He posted a 4.30 ERA and 1.47 WHIP in 29 appearances, and struck out 79 batters to 57 walks. SB Nation’s John Sickels had this to say about him back in February:
Fireballer can hit 97-98...slider is plus when he is going well, change-up and command still need work, many see him as a reliever but the Angels will develop him as a starter as long as possible. High upside, high risk.
Since that report, Alcantara posted an unimpressive 1.4 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 111 innings, so it’s fair to wonder if the Angels finally gave up on any dreams of him remaining a starter.
As for the Tigers’ plans for center field, it doesn’t sound like they intend to bring in any outside help. Al Avila was quoted as saying, “There will be a wide open competition starting in the spring and we’ll see how it plays out.”