The Cleveland Indians announced on Thursday that Triple-A outfielder Cameron Maybin was traded to the New York Yankees for cash considerations.
Few teams in recorded Major League history have had such a run of bad luck with the injury bug to open the season as the Yankees have to start the 2019 campaign. Expected to be one of the lead contenders for the American League East this season, the club has instead run out a team on the field far more resembling the lineup that should be suiting up at Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Maybin, who signed with the Indians after spring training on March 29 after being released by the San Francisco Giants, had been playing at Triple-A Columbus while waiting for an opportunity to open in the Cleveland outfield. One of those spots was reserved and has since been filled by fellow veteran Carlos Gonzalez, who took over the spot vacated by Jordan Luplow when he was optioned to the minors on April 13 after hitting .200/.294/.200 in seven games.
The Indians outfield has hardly calmed preseason concerns about that portion of the lineup’s ability to be effective offensively. Jake Bauers has gotten the lion’s share of work in left field, putting up a .219/.321/.384 slash with three doubles, three homers, eleven walks, and ten RBI (the latter three all second-best on the team). Leonys Martin has performed well overall in center while hitting in the leadoff and second spot in the lineup. He leads the club in homers with four, is tied for the team lead in runs scored with 14, and is second on the squad in hits with 22, giving him a .256/.360/.442 line. Tyler Naquin has provided inconsistent results in right field (.226/.250/.323 in 19 games) while Greg Allen’s speed and versatility off of the bench may be the only thing preventing him from appearing in the Columbus lineup right now (.108/.171/.162 in 18 games). Gonzalez has worked in both outfield corners and has seven singles, two walks, and an RBI in 34 plate appearances over eight games thus far (.226/.294/.226) as he continues to kick off the offseason rust.
The 32-year-old Maybin, a veteran of 12 big league seasons, was off to a bit of a slow start for the Clippers in 14 games with the club. He had hits in just half of his games, putting up a .216/.388/.275 line with three doubles, one stolen base in two attempts, two hit by pitches, and a sacrifice fly. He had served a variety of roles for Columbus, making two starts in right field, four in left (two errors), five in center, and three more at designated hitter. He had only recently put together a pair of good efforts at the plate, going 2-for-3 with two singles, two walks, a sacrifice fly, and an RBI on April 19 against the Toledo Mud Hens, then followed it up on April 23 in his next game with three singles in five trips with another run batted in at home against the Norfolk Tides. He was hitting just .150 prior to the five-hit performance over those two games, which boosted his average 79 points.
Maybin could get an opportunity to play regularly with the Yankees. The club entered the season with outfielders Jacoby Ellsbury (recovery from left hip surgery in August) and Aaron Hicks (lower back stiffness) already on the 10-day injured list, but the pair have been joined by Giancarlo Stanton (April 1 – grade 1 left biceps strain and left shoulder), Aaron Judge (April 21 – left oblique strain), and most recently by former Indians prospect Clint Frazier (April 24 – left ankle tear).
The loss of Frazier makes for 13 different Yankees players on the injured list for the Bronx Bombers. The team has also lost third baseman Miguel Andujar (right shoulder labrum tear), first baseman Greg Bird (left plantar fascia tear), shortstop Didi Gregorius (recovery from October Tommy John surgery), and utility man Troy Tulowitzki (left calf strain), as well as pitchers Dellin Betances (right shoulder bone spur), Ben Heller (recovery from April 2018 Tommy John surgery), Jordan Montgomery (recovery from June Tommy John surgery), and Luis Severino (right rotator cuff inflammation). Starter CC Sabathia and catcher Gary Sanchez have been activated from the IL in the last two weeks.
Maybin appeared in 99 games for Miami and 30 for Seattle a season ago, hitting a combined .249 on the year with 14 doubles, two triples, four homers, and 28 RBI while stealing ten bases in 15 attempts. He stole 33 bases the previous year between the Los Angeles Angels and Houston Astros organizations while earning a World Series ring with the latter club.
Maybin was a first round draft pick by the Detroit Tigers in 2005 and debuted with them in 24 games in 2007 before being shipped to the Marlins as part of the Miguel Cabrera trade. He spent three years with Florida before joining the San Diego Padres in the Craig Kimbrel trade. He spent four seasons there, 2015 in Atlanta, and 2016 back in Detroit.
Photo: Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch