The Indians have added another prospective outfielder to their mix of internal candidates, as the club announced on Friday that free agent Cameron Maybin has signed on with Cleveland on a minor league deal.
The terms of the contract were not announced at the time of the signing. The soon-to-be 32-year-old Maybin is expected to report to Triple-A Columbus for the start of International League play next week.
The right-handed hitting Maybin spent the spring in camp with the San Francisco Giants after signing a minor league deal with the club on February 18 that would pay him $1.75 million if playing in the Majors. He appeared in 16 games for the Giants, hitting .163 with a .250 on-base percentage with three doubles, one stolen base, and one run batted in. He drew five walks in 48 trips to the plate, but also struck out 13 times.
His time in Cactus League play was also tarnished by a DUI arrest, for which he made a public apology on his Twitter account on March 6. He said, “Life’s greatest lessons are usually learned at the worst times and from the worst mistakes. I take full responsibility for my actions and am deeply sorry to all those that I let down – my family, my friends, my supporters, my teammates, and the entire SF Giants front office. Life is about growth and I’m choosing to learn and grow from this valuable life lesson.”
Maybin was released by the Giants on March 23 after his poor spring showing. Now, he will have an opportunity to convince the Indians that he is an upgrade over the other options already on the roster while serving as a mentor to some of the minor leaguers in Columbus.
The 12-year veteran has focused his time away from the diamond on giving back to the community. His charitable organization, the Maybin Mission, works to improve the lives of thousands of underserved children, especially inner city youth.
Maybin has taken a tour of the Majors during his pro career. He was a first round pick by the Detroit Tigers in 2005 and debuted for the club as a 20-year-old rookie in 2007, but he was dealt after that season to the Florida Marlins as part of the eight-player trade revolving around Miguel Cabrera.
He worked sparingly with the Marlins over the next three years before he was traded to the San Diego Padres, where he spent four seasons. He has been on the move frequently since and almost always via trade. He was dealt at the start of the 2015 season by San Diego to Atlanta. He was traded back to Detroit after the 2015 season and swapped to the Los Angeles Angels after the 2016 season. The Houston Astros claimed him off of waivers from the Angels at the waiver trade deadline in 2017.
Last season, he signed with the Marlins, returning to his long-time home. He appeared in 99 games with Miami, hitting .251 with a .338 on-base percentage and a .343 slugging mark with 12 doubles, one triple, three homers, and 20 RBI while stealing eight bases.
On July 31, he was sent to the Seattle Mariners for minor leaguer Bryson Brigman and international bonus slot money. He worked in 30 games for the M’s, putting up a .242/.289/.319 slash with two doubles, one triple, one more homer, and eight RBI. He became a free agent after the season.
Maybin was once a burner on the base paths, stealing as many as 40 bases in 2011, but those numbers have fallen off in recent years. He stole 15 in 2016 and rebounded to 33 in 2017, but that figure dropped to just ten in his 129 total games last season.
Once solely a center fielder, he has expanded his role to play all three outfield spots over the last two seasons. He made just one error in the outfield in 217 chances last season and showed a range factor per nine innings above league average. He ranked 36th overall among all outfielders a season ago with six defensive runs saved. He listed as an above average defender last season with a .876 RZR, and his UZR (1.1) and UZR/150 (1.9) also placed him as a slightly above average defender as well. He was far more successful as a left fielder per those stats (3.9 and 12.5, respectively) and just above average (0.2 and 4.8) in right field last season, but his overall defensive metrics were hurt by his 322 1/3 innings in center, where he posted a -2.9 UZR and -8.7 UZR/150. It marked the fourth time in the last six seasons that he graded out as a below average defender in center. Some of this would be expected age-related regression as he has lost several steps over the years.
The Indians are currently rolling with an outfield mix of Jake Bauers, Leonys Martin, and Tyler Naquin from left to right with Greg Allen and Jordan Luplow coming off of the bench. Carlos Gonzalez is working his way into shape and could also be a factor, but he has an opt-out date in late April in his minor league contract and could leave the organization if not up in the Majors by then. The Indians also will have spring standout Oscar Mercado and veteran Brandon Barnes in the Columbus outfield, and Bradley Zimmer could join that group shortly down the road as he progresses in his rehab from labrum surgery last July.
Photo: Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images