Cameron Maybin Rumors
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.
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.
It's been a busy day for baseball's west coast teams. Angels GM Tony Reagins resigned, we learned that Dodgers star Matt Kemp won't talk about an extension until next season, and the Athletics swung a minor deal. Let's round up some other news from the two west divisions...
- Dan Hayes of The North County Times hears that contract extension talks between Cameron Maybin and the Padres have "slowed significantly." We heard that the two sides had mututal interest in an extension earlier this month. (Twitter link)
- "I do not believe so," said Angels president John Carpino when asked if manager Mike Scioscia could be promoted to GM after Reagins' resignation by Bill Shaikin of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). "That would probably be a question for Mike."
- Mike DiGiovanna of The Los Angeles Times lists some GM candidates for the Angels. Here is MLBTR's list of the game's top 20 GM candidates.
- The Athletics announced in a press release that the contracts of bench coach Joel Skinner, pitching coach Ron Romanick, and hitting coach Gerald Perry will not be renewed. Interim manager Bob Melvin signed a three-year extension recently, and he'll likely be able to bring in his own people.
WEDNESDAY: Maybin told Brock yesterday, "They've given me a great opportunity. When the season ends, we can discuss that more."
TUESDAY: The Padres and Cameron Maybin appear to have mutual interest in an extension, Yahoo's Tim Brown reports (Twitter link). Maybin, 24, is enjoying a breakout season with the Padres and now seems to be an offseason extension candidate. MLB.com's Corey Brock hears that some discussions about a possible deal have taken place, though no agreement is remotely close at the moment (Twitter link).
Maybin debuted as a 20-year-old with the 2007 Tigers, but frequent demotions to the minor leagues prevented him from picking up much service time. After this season, Maybin will have two years and 73 days of service time, which puts him on track for arbitration eligibility after the 2012 season and free agency after the 2015 season.
Maybin has been one of San Diego's most productive players since the Padres acquired Maybin from Florida for Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb last November. He has a .275/.332/.400 line in 476 plate appearances and UZR suggests he has been an asset on defense in spacious Petco Park.
Though Padres fans would no doubt like to see GM Jed Hoyer lock Maybin up to a team-friendly deal similar to the one Jose Tabata signed with the Pirates last month, the two outfielders aren't perfect comparables for one another. Tabata, who signed a six-year, $15MM deal, is a year behind Maybin in MLB service. Tabata will earn $11.5MM for his three arbitration years, which could be a point of reference for Maybin and the Padres. Unfortunately for Maybin, arbitration panels would penalize him for his spotty track record and modest career stats without rewarding him for his outfield defense.
Congratulations to the Boston Bruins on winning their first Stanley Cup since 1972. This year's major sports champions have now come from Boston, the Dallas/Fort Worth area and Wisconsin. All three of those regions could be gunning for their second championship parade of the year come November --- the Red Sox, Rangers and Brewers are all in first place in their respective divisions.
Some news and items from around the majors....
- The Orioles have a lot of pieces that can be moved this summer, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. He lists Koji Uehara and Jeremy Guthrie as possible trade candidates, but Schmuck predicts Vladimir Guerrero and Derrek Lee will finish the season in Baltimore since "neither...has done enough to create real value for the club." Schmuck also notes that Andy MacPhail may not pursue a full fire sale since finishing with a .500 record would be a positive step for a team that hasn't had a winning record since 1997.
- Andrew Miller has indeed opted to remain with the Red Sox and he will start for the team against San Diego on Monday, reports Gordon Edes of ESPN Boston.
- David Villavicencio of FOX Sports Florida has the story of Marlins first-round pick Jose Fernandez, who escaped to the United States from his native Cuba on his fourth attempt. Florida took the right-hander with the 14th overall pick and though Fernandez has committed to the University of South Florida, the story makes it sound as if he's eager to sign.
- Erik Bedard still carries too much risk for the Yankees to make a play for at the trade deadline, argues Mike Axisa of the River Avenue Blues blog. Also, as Axisa notes, the Mariners aren't likely to deal the Canadian southpaw since they're contending in the AL West.
- "China, as well as India, Taiwan, and South Korea, represents one of the next great market inefficiencies," writes Bradley Woodrum for Fangraphs. A team that establishes a foothold in East Asia will have first dibs on a huge, untapped area for finding future baseball talent.
Links from around the majors as Armando Galarraga makes Arizona's rotation...
- One scout tells Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports that every team is kicking the tires on bullpen help, back-of-the-rotation starters, utility players and backup catchers (Twitter link).
- Scouts break down former Padres, current Padres, and other West Coast teams for Tom Krasovic of Inside the Padres. One scout says there's "no doubt" that Cameron Maybin can play center field in spacious Petco park.
- Top Pirates prospects Stetson Allie, Jameson Taillon and Tony Sanchez have little in common off of the field, but are looking forward to making an impact in Pittsburgh, writes Dejan Kovacevic of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
- MLB.com's T.R. Sullivan reports that the Rangers are looking for a shortstop for Triple-A and suggests Luis Cruz, Tony Abreu and Juan Castro are options.
It's never too soon to begin looking ahead to the First-Year Player Draft. Here's more on a potential first-round pick and a couple other items of note out of the NL West ...
- Padres GM Jed Hoyer inquired several times last season with the Marlins on the availability of center fielder Cameron Maybin, writes Corey Brock of MLB.com. Of course, the Padres eventually got their man in Maybin, whose memorable early-career homer off Rogers Clemens feels like a lifetime ago despite the fact that he's only 23. In acquiring Maybin, Hoyer and the Padres felt like they were getting a guy who is still younger than many minor league prospects and could have room to grow after he was perhaps rushed to the big leagues at just 20 years old. Plus, "His skill-set sets up very well for our style of play, our ballpark and our division," manager Bud Black told Brock.
- Diamondbacks GM Kevin Towers acquired Zach Duke from the Pirates in November because he thought the left-hander could benefit from a change of scenery, blogs Steve Gilbert of MLB.com. Towers added that he covets lefties and good athletes, and said that despite Duke's dip in production in 2010, "his stuff didn't really deteriorate over the last couple years." Duke, non-tendered by the Bucs prior to being dealt to Arizona, posted a 5.72 ERA in 29 starts for the Pirates in '10 but has a career ERA of 4.54.
- The Rockies may have deja vu all over again: Dante Bichette Jr., the son of former Blake Street Bomber Dante Bichette, is a projected first-round draft pick, according to the Denver Post. Bichette Jr., projected as a third baseman in pro ball, has signed a letter of intent to play at the University of Georgia, according to the Post, but if a team is willing to select him in the first round of a draft that is shaping up to be historically deep, there's always the chance he could be lured away by big money. You may remember Bichette Jr. from the 2005 Little League World Series, in which he starred for his team from Maitland, Fla. The Rockies, by the way, have the 20th pick in the 2011 First-Year Player Draft.
Fenway Park has the Green Monster, Coors Field has the humidor, and Minute Maid Park has the Crawford Boxes. Lots of stadiums have quirks or tendencies that favor certain kinds of players and big league executives are well aware of it. MLB GMs say they prefer to have players whose skill sets match their parks, but that's just one consideration when constructing a roster.
The Tigers, for example, play 81 games per season in spacious Comerica Park, so GM Dave Dombrowski says he looks for outfielders who can cover lots of ground whenever possible.
"Fortunately we have an outstanding defensive center fielder now in Austin Jackson," Dombrowski told MLBTR last week in Orlando. "But you know you have to have an outstanding center fielder in Comerica Park who can really go get the ball or it’ll hurt you a great deal."
Jackson, Brennan Boesch and Ryan Raburn will be in the Tigers organization in 2011, but longtime right fielder Magglio Ordonez is a free agent, so the Tigers may look to acquire a corner outfielder via trade or free agency. If they do, Comerica Park will be a factor.
"Even your corner outfielders, it’s hard to get just a guy who is a stationary type guy because our outfield’s big, so we take it into consideration quite a bit,” Dombrowski said.
Like Comerica Park, San Diego's Petco Park has a larger than average outfield. And Padres GM Jed Hoyer acquired former Tigers prospect Cameron Maybin partly because his athleticism should make the club better defensively.
"Having a big station to station team that plays poor defense doesn’t seem like a recipe for success given the ballparks we play in,” Hoyer said.
No team adds or subtracts players purely because of their ballpark and the Padres are no exception. But because of the unbalanced schedule, Hoyer is intent on fielding a team that can cover lots of ground at Petco.
"We play 81 games there, we play nine in AT&T Park, we play nine in Dodger Stadium, the outfield in Coors Field is huge so you start adding it up and the number of games we play in big fields is a lot and we need to be fast," Hoyer said.
Similarly, some teams in homer-friendly ballparks are inclined to acquire pitchers who keep the ball on the ground. Camden Yards has been one of baseball's five friendliest home run environments for four years running, according to ESPN's park factors, and the Orioles front office knows how their home stadium plays. As president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail points out, you can't hit a ground ball out of the park.
"We do pay attention to [ground ball rate], we definitely factor it in," MacPhail said. "All things being equal it’s a positive, but it’s not a sole driver in terms of what we do."
If the O's really did make decisions completely based on ground ball rate, they would not have signed Koji Uehara, who was effective in 2010 despite allowing 2.5 times as many fly balls as ground balls. Instead, park factors are one element of the team's decision-making process.
"If we think we can find the right guy even if he doesn’t have that [ground ball] number that would be ideal, we’ll [consider him],” MacPhail said.
Here's the latest on the Padres from MLB.com's Corey Brock...
- San Diego won't be making a bid for Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. (Twitter link) Brock says the club can't afford to get into the bidding or signing process.
- As part of a reader mailbag, Brock says that the Padres' next focus is on finding help for the middle infield. He thinks the Friars will be looking to sign an infielder to a one-year contract, similar to the deals David Eckstein (now a free agent) signed with the team over the last two seasons. San Diego will be free to sign either a second baseman or a shortstop since Brock thinks Everth Cabrera could easily make the transition to play second if need be.
- Jerry Hairston Jr. and the Padres are both interested in having Hairston return in 2011.
- The Cameron Maybin trade seems to leave Luis Durango without a position and, in Brock's opinion, without a spot on the roster. Brock thinks Durango could be packaged with a pitcher in a trade since other teams could be attracted by Durango's speed.
- Speaking of the Maybin deal, Brock believes "the Padres got a steal" from Florida.
Last year this time, Jed Hoyer was two weeks into his tenure as Padres GM. Now, he's attending the Orlando GM Meetings with a better sense of his club and a surplus of outfielders. He told MLBTR that he likes having outfield depth, but Cameron Maybin, Ryan Ludwick, Kyle Blanks, Will Venable, Scott Hairston, Chris Denorfia, Aaron Cunningham and Tony Gwynn won't all end up on next season's Opening Day roster and Hoyer did acknowledge that a trade is possible.
"Whenever you have surplus, if a team asks about a guy, you're always going to be willing to listen," Hoyer said.
The Padres like Venable in right and Maybin in center. Tony Gwynn's 2011 role has been unclear since the Marlins sent Maybin to San Diego. He is a non-tender candidate (like Ludwick, Hairston and Denorfia) but Hoyer says Gwynn could be covering even more ground than usual at Petco Park next year.
"He's a guy we can use in all three outfield spots and going forward that's probably how we think of him," Hoyer said.
The Maybin trade left the Padres short on relievers, but don't expect immediate additions to the San Diego 'pen. The Padres are likely to replace the recently-traded Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica with other relievers later in the winter. As expected, Hoyer says the Padres will do a lot of their "damage" late in the offseason.