Saturday, November 13, 2010
Marlins part with keys to Cabrera trade
By Justin Havens
In the span of two days, the Florida Marlins parted ways with the two primary pieces they received in the 2007 trade for Miguel Cabrera.
Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin were considered elite prospects at the time of the trade, but neither developed into legitimate contributors.
Miller has failed to blossom since being selected with the sixth pick in the 2006 MLB Draft -- ahead of pitchers Clayton Kershaw (seventh) and Tim Lincecum (10th). On Friday, he was traded to the Boston Red Sox for minor league reliever Dustin Richardson.
On Saturday, Maybin was dealt to the San Diego Padres, for pitchers Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica. Both will help with the Marlins stated desire to improve the bullpen, but this is a disappointing end to Maybin’s tenure in South Florida. The Detroit Tigers drafted Maybin in 2005, ahead of notable outfielders Andrew McCutchen, Jay Bruce, Jacoby Ellsbury and Colby Rasmus.
With Miller and Maybin gone, two questions remain: How did the Cabrera trade end up working for the Marlins, and, what can the Red Sox and Padres expect out of their acquisitions?
According to Fangraphs.com’s Wins Above Replacement, the Marlins experienced a “loss” of 8.5 WAR on this trade. Cabrera has accounted for all of the positive contributions among the players the Marlins traded, but he’s been an MVP-caliber player during his tenure with the Tigers.
So what can be expected from Miller and Maybin? Neither player has produced at the Major League level, with Miller’s erratic command and Maybin’s strikeout issues and contact ability. Miller has faltered, even after return trips to the minors. Maybin has shown the ability to dominate at the minor-league level, but has seen his holes exploited in the big leagues.
Maybin did not accumulate enough plate appearances to qualify, but if he had his swing-and-miss percentage at balls inside the strike zone (82.1 pct) would have ranked 11th worst in the majors last season. A majority of the players with worse marks in that category are power hitters like Ryan Howard, Adam Dunn and Mark Reynolds.
Maybin’s issues with making contact is what holds him back from developing into the star many people projected him to be. He has a career .306/.393/.478 line in 1,793 career minor-league plate appearances, including a .340/.415/.525 mark in 2010. He struck out in just 18.5 percent of his minor-league plate appearances last season.
Maybin will be just 24 years old next April, giving him plenty of time to carve out a productive career. But the difference between him being a Quadruple-A specimen and a legitimate Major Leaguer will likely come down to his ability to reduce his strikeouts and improve his contact rate with his new club.