Cameron Maybin Rumors

No Discount For Padres On Maybin’s Arbitration Years

There are two reasons to sign a player to a multiyear contract extension before he's arbitration eligible.  One is to get a discount on the player's arbitration years as a tradeoff for guaranteeing them, and the other is to secure free agent seasons.  The Padres accomplished only one of these in signing center fielder Cameron Maybin to a five-year, $25MM extension on Saturday.

Arbitration hearings lag well behind the times in terms of the statistics argued by teams and agencies.  Arbitration panels consist of three base-level baseball people, and it's generally considered too risky to attempt to educate them about an advanced metric, prove its validity, and a present a strong case for the player within an hour.  That's why it wasn't surprising when Matt Swartz's arbitration model for MLB Trade Rumors proved that playing time and power matter most in arbitration salaries for position players, and even batting average and steals "pale in importance to the almighty HR and RBI."  Matt demonstrated that position doesn't affect salary much either.

MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith zeroed in on this point in his January Maybin extension candidate article.  Maybin was quite valuable in 2011, tallying 4.7 wins above replacement according to FanGraphs.  However, he accumulated this value almost entirely through skills that are rarely recognized in arbitration salaries, such as defense, baserunning, and playing a difficult position.  Assuming Maybin were to just keep repeating his 2011 season – a generous playing time assumption – Matt Swartz projects arbitration salaries of $2.4MM in 2013, $3.8MM in 2014, and $5.2MM in 2015, for a total of $11.4MM.  As part of the new five-year deal, Maybin will receive $15MM for that stretch of his career. 

Maybin's 140 pro games in 2011 marked a career-best; he's always battled injuries.  Playing time is a significant factor in arbitration salaries.  Not only did the Padres lose the chance to pay Maybin less during his arbitration years if he misses significant time due to injury, but they overpaid him by an estimated $3.6MM even if good health is assumed.  Perhaps Maybin's contract was modeled off Franklin Gutierrez's January 2010 deal with the Mariners, itself a clear overpay at the time for the same reasons.  One key difference is that the 24-year-old Maybin has plenty of offensive upside remaining, and if the former first-rounder realizes what was once considered "wicked raw power" by Baseball America, he could justify arbitration earnings in excess of $15MM.

As I mentioned, Padres GM Josh Byrnes received another benefit by locking up Maybin: the center fielder's first free agent year at $8MM and a club option for another at $9MM.  Even if Maybin does not take another leap forward with the bat, those 2016 and '17 salaries will still be considered good value relative to free agent prices.  With today's savvy front offices, free agency will likely continue to appreciate defense and position scarcity more and more.  As of right now, though, Maybin's agent Brian Goldberg is the winner, having secured $25MM for a player coming off a 137-game season in which he batted .264 with nine home runs and 40 RBI.


Padres Agree To Extend Cameron Maybin

2:32pm: Maybin will earn $500K in 2012 with the money escalating each year, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com.  The 24-year-old will earn $3MM, $5MM, $7MM, $8MM, and $9MM in years to follow.  The final year of the deal, 2017, comes with a $1MM buyout.

11:11am: The Padres and Cameron Maybin have agreed to a five-year contract extension with an option for a sixth year, reports Scott Miller of CBSSports.com. Dan Hayes of The North County Times first reported that an extension was imminent earlier this morning. The Brian Goldberg client will get $25MM guaranteed, according to Corey Brock of MLB.com. The option is worth $7-8MM. The team has announced the deal.

Icon_5672363The five-year contract extension covers Maybin's final pre-arbitration season, all three seasons of arbitration-eligibility, and one free agent year with an option for second. Maybin did ask for a no-trade clause according to ESPN's Jerry Crasnick (on Twitter), but the team has a policy against them.

Maybin, 24, enjoyed a breakout season in San Diego last summer after being acquired from the Marlins for Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. He hit .264/.323/.393 with nine homers and 40 steals overall, but like most players he was much more productive away from Petco Park: .294/.349/.457 with seven homers. Maybin is also considered a strong defensive center fielder, ranking third at the position with a +9.5 UZR in 2011.

The contract is similar to the one signed by Chris Young with the Diamondbacks back in 2008, a five-year deal worth $25.5MM that was brokered by current Padres GM Josh Byrnes. He had less than two years of service time at the time, however. Curtis Granderson ($30.25MM) also signed a five-year deal at a similar point in his career. Both Young and Granderson had a substantial advantage over Maybin in power numbers though, so it appears as though Goldberg got a nice deal for his defense-first outfielder.

As our Extension Tracker shows, the Padres have not signed a player to an extension longer than three years since Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young in April 2007. Jake Peavy signed a three-year, $52MM extension in December 2007 and Jason Bartlett signed a two-year, $11MM deal last January. The two sides had been talking about a long-term extension most of the offseason, though talks stalled early last month when Maybin changed agents. Ben Nicholson-Smith suggested that the five-year contract worth $21-22MM could work for both parties back in January.

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


Padres, Cameron Maybin “Very Close” To Extension

10:43am: It's a five-year contract worth $23-25MM with a $7-8MM option for a sixth year, reports Hayes (Twitter links). The deal buys out Maybin's final pre-arbitration season, all three seasons of arbitration-eligibility, and one free agent year with an option for second.

9:54am: The Padres and Cameron Maybin are "very close" to a contract extension, reports Dan Hayes of The North County Times. Maybin is a Brian Goldberg client. Terms are unknown, but the deal is likely to be announced later today. 

Maybin, 24, enjoyed a breakout season in San Diego last summer after being acquired from the Marlins for Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. He hit .264/.323/.393 with nine homers and 40 steals overall, but like most players he was much more productive away from Petco Park: .294/.349/.457 with seven homers. Maybin is also considered a strong defensive center fielder, ranking third at the position with a +9.5 UZR in 2011.

The two sides have been talking about a long-term extension most of the offseason. Ben Nicholson-Smith suggested that the five-year contract worth $21-22MM could work for both parties back in January. Maybin will be arbitration-eligible for the first time after this season and can not become a free agent until after 2015.

As our Extension Tracker shows, the Padres have not signed a player to an extension longer than three years since Adrian Gonzalez and Chris Young in April 2007. Jake Peavy signed a three-year, $52MM extension in December 2007 and Jason Bartlett signed a two-year, $11MM deal last January.

This post was originally published on March 3rd.



Padres, Maybin Continue Talking Extension

The Padres continue discussing a long-term extension with center fielder Cameron Maybin, Dan Hayes of the North County Times reports. The sides are optimistic about reaching a deal and have an unofficial March 1st deadline in place. 

Talks about a five year extension started  earlier in the offseason, but stopped around the time Maybin switched agents. The 24-year-old Brian Goldberg client says he's focused on preparing for the season, not the possibility of a new contract.

Maybin posted a .264/.323/.393 line in 2011 and plays better-than-average defense in center field, according to UZR/150. He's not yet arbitration eligible and will remain under team control through 2015. I explained last month that I believe a five-year deal in the $21-22MM range could work for Maybin and the Padres.


Padres Links: Maybin, Quentin, Owings

Here's the latest out of San Diego…

  • Cameron Maybin has switched agents and is now once again represented by Brian Goldberg, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (Twitter link).  Maybin was previously represented by Robert Baratta.  Goldberg was Maybin's original agent when he first entered the Major Leagues.
  • Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune thinks the Padres will revisit extension talks with Maybin during Spring Training.  MLBTR's Ben Nicholson-Smith examined Maybin as an extension candidate last month.  Center also thinks the Padres will wait to see how Carlos Quentin performs before exploring a multiyear deal with him.
  • Also as part of Center's weekly chat with fans, he discusses Micah Owings' role with the team and why owner Jeffrey Moorad "forbids" incentive-laden contracts.
  • Owings' contract with the Padres is a split deal that will pay the right-hander a minor league salary if he's optioned down, tweets Dan Hayes of the North County Times.  The contract doesn't include an opt-out clause if Owings is not on the Major League roster by a certain date.

NL West Links: Maybin, Padres, Giants, D’Backs

One year ago today, the Rockies re-signed Jason Giambi to serve as their backup first baseman and primary pinch-hitter. Here's the latest out of the NL West…

  • The Padres and Cameron Maybin had tabled contract extension talks for now, reports MLB.com's Corey Brock (on Twitter). Maybin recently changed agents and the two sides haven't made any progress.
  • Although they are just about done with their 40-man roster moves, Dan Hayes of the North County Times hears that the Padres have room for one more "protection" starting pitcher (Twitter link).
  • Giants executive Bobby Evans told John Shea of The San Francisco Chronicle that the team's five starters are in place (Twitter link). Evans also mentioned Gregor Blanco as possible outfield depth.
  • The Diamondbacks thought they had a deal in place with Bartolo Colon before he signed with the Athletics, reports ESPN's Buster Olney (Insider req'd). Arizona ended up signing Joe Saunders today.

Extension Candidate: Cameron Maybin

Arbitration rewards sluggers, closers and above-average starters. Fleet-footed center fielders with modest power? Not so much. That’s why Cameron Maybin is a candidate for a modest extension with the Padres, even after a breakout season. The Padres will likely resume extension talks with the 24-year-old before long, so it’s a good time to look ahead to a possible long-term deal.

Cameron Maybin - Padres

After the 2011 season, MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz empirically showed what teams and agents have known for some time: the one skill that really gets position players paid is power. Batting average and stolen bases “pale in importance to almighty home runs and RBI,” Swartz wrote. What’s more, position does not seem to matter much either. 

This is bad news for Maybin, a strong defensive center fielder who doesn’t hit for much power and calls Petco Park home. The 2005 first rounder will be undervalued through the arbitration process despite his contributions on offense and defense. 

Maybin posted a .264/.323./393 line in 2011 for a respectable 103 OPS+ and he plays better-than-average defense in center field, according to UZR/150 (+11.6 in ’11, +8.0 career). Though Maybin is an above-average player according to wins above replacement, the arbitration process won't recognize his defense, which will limit his leverage in extension talks.

Powerful outfielders such as Jay Bruce, Justin Upton and Carlos Gonzalez all signed extensions worth at least $50MM at similar stages in their careers, but Maybin’s not in line for that kind of deal, since he hasn't showed similar power in parts of five MLB seasons. His representatives may instead be looking to recent contracts for Franklin Gutierrez, Jose Tabata and Denard Span as points of reference.

Gutierrez, Tabata and Span, comparable offensive players to Maybin who also have experience in center field, all signed deals that bought out their three arbitration years and include options for free agent seasons. Maybin currently has more service time than Span and Tabata had when they signed and less service time than Gutierrez had when he signed, but their deals provide a possible framework for the Padres and Baratta Partners.

Span, Tabata and Gutierrez all signed deals that include club options and the Padres would presumably push for at least one option year if they extend their center fielder. A five-year deal along the lines of Gutierrez’s contract would guarantee Maybin more than $20MM. One possible scenario: $500K for 2012, his final pre-arbitration season, $2.5MM, $4MM and $6MM for his three arbitration seasons, $8MM for his first free agent year and an $8MM club option with a $500K buyout for a second free agent season. 

If the sides discuss an extension, as expected, they could explore any number of scenarios, but a five-year deal in the $21-22MM could work for both sides in my opinion. Maybin would get the security of a long-term deal and the Padres would extend their control over a player who’s more valuable than the arbitration process would indicate.

Photo courtesy Icon SMI.


Padres Notes: Quentin, Maybin, Zumaya, Venable

The Padres have already pulled off two major offseason trades under GM Josh Byrnes, sending Mat Latos to Cincinnati and obtaining Carlos Quentin from the White Sox. “We’re not in total go-for-it mode, but we can make some choices,” Byrnes said, according to Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Here are details from Center’s recent look ahead to the rest of the San Diego’s offseason: 

  • The Padres acquired Quentin from the White Sox with the notion that they could extend him, Byrnes said. 
  • The Padres have already discussed signing Cameron Maybin to a deal that would buy out one or two of his free agent years, according to Center. We heard late in December that the Padres were set to re-start contract talks with the center fielder, who’s on track to hit free agency after 2015.
  • No payroll model would have allowed the Padres to re-sign Adrian Gonzalez for $20-25MM per season, according to Byrnes. Former Padres GM Jed Hoyer dealt Gonzalez to Boston for prospects Casey Kelly, Reymond Fuentes and Anthony Rizzo last offseason. 
  • The Padres were reluctant to offer Heath Bell a third year this offseason, Center writes.
  • The Padres could sign a pitcher or two before Spring Training and San Diego native Joel Zumaya is high on Byrnes’ wish list, Center notes. 
  • Dave Cameron of U.S.S. Mariner would like to see the Mariners pursue Will Venable, "probably one of the more underrated players in the sport."
  • The Padres figured prominently on Tim Dierkes' list of the offseason's most surprising trades so far.

Padres Notes: Rizzo, Maholm, Young, Quentin

Bill Center of the San Diego Union-Tribune held his weekly chat with fans today and shared some news about some possible moves the Padres could have cooking this offseason…

  • Center thinks Anthony Rizzo will be traded "in the next week or two."  He predicts Rizzo will be sent to the Rays, who will then flip Rizzo to the Cubs, where he is "still coveted" by (former Padres executives) Jed Hoyer and Jason McLeod.
  • The Padres will begin negotiations with Cameron Maybin about a multiyear contract once the team has dealt with its arbitration-eligible players.  We heard earlier this week that the two sides would revisit contract talks in January.  Center predicts a Maybin extension would be worth "at least" $15-18MM and be five or six years in length, which would buy out all three of Maybin's arbitration years and at least one of his free agent years.
  • Center believes the Padres will add another pitcher through free agency, and says he's heard the names of Paul Maholm and Jon Garland connected to the club, though Center doesn't think Garland returning to San Diego is likely.  Garland pitched for the Friars in 2010 and then opted out of a mutual option to enter the free agent market.  Garland ended up signing a one-year deal with the Dodgers but made just nine starts for L.A. due to an oblique injury and season-ending shoulder surgery in July.
  • The team "apparently can't put together a deal that would interest Chris Young" since "it would have to be incentive laden and the Padres aren't offering incentive contracts."  Young, who pitched for San Diego from 2006-10, has been plagued by shoulder injuries that have limited him to just 22 starts over the last three seasons.  Young posted a 1.88 ERA in four starts with the Mets last year before undergoing season-ending surgery to repair an anterior capsule tear in his throwing shoulder.
  • "There is nothing close" between the Padres and White Sox about a possible Carlos Quentin trade.  The Friars were known to be targeting Quentin last month.
  • The Padres may choose to take cash from the Pirates to finalize last July's Ryan Ludwick trade, rather than a player to be named later.
  • Center thinks the Padres "desperately" need to acquire a close-to-Major League-ready middle infield prospect.

Padres To Restart Contract Talks With Maybin

The Padres will restart contract extension talks with Cameron Maybin in January, two sources told Dan Hayes of the North County Times.  GM Josh Byrnes and representatives for the 24-year-old recently had a "broad" discussion about a deal for Maybin, but no offer was made according to a source.

Back in September, the Padres and the center fielder seemed to have mutual interest in working out an extension.  Maybin enjoyed a breakout year in 2011, hitting .264/.323/.393 with nine homers in 568 plate appearances.  In the youngster's first 100+ game season, he posted a UZR/150 of 11.6 in center field.

Maybin is on track for arbitration eligibility after the 2012 season and free agency after the 2015 season.  It's difficult to find a strong comparable for Maybin but Ben Nicholson-Smith has suggested that Jose Tabata might be the best point of reference currently available.  Tabata's deal with the Pirates will pay him $11.5MM for his three remaining years of arbitration eligibility.