|Center fielder Cameron Maybin made the Marlins’ Opening Day roster in both 2009 and ’10, but he won’t get a chance to extend that streak. Florida shipped Maybin, who will be out of options next season, to the Padres for Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica, a pair of righthanded relievers in their mid-20s with ample big league experience.
The Marlins had high hopes for Maybin and lefty Andrew Miller when they acquired them from the Tigers three years ago. At the time, they stood as Detroit’s two brightest prospects, and two of the best in baseball. Neither Maybin nor Miller has developed as quickly as expected, though, prompting Florida to trade them (on consecutive days) rather than pay arbitration prices to speculate any further on their futures. In making the trades, the Marlins targeted power arms to shore up their bullpen corps, an area of weakness in 2010. They landed Mujica, Webb and Dustin Richardson (from the Red Sox for Miller), all of whom have big league experience. Richardson (two) and Webb (one) even have options remaining.
The trade of Webb and Mujica affirms the Padres’ faith in 25-year-old righthander Ernesto Frieri, who spent the first half of 2010 as closer for Triple-A Portland and the second in the big league bullpen. While in the minors, he paced Pacific Coast League relievers with 11.7 strikeouts per nine innings and suffered no attrition in the big leagues, fanning 41 in 31 2/3 innings for an identical 11.7 rate. Frieri went 1-1, 1.71 with a 1.11 WHIP for San Diego. The trade also resolves San Diego’s center-field situation, where Tony Gwynn Jr. and Chris Denorfia made the most starts in 2010. Flanked by Ryan Ludwick and Will Venable, Maybin’s range will be an asset for the Padres in spacious Petco Park.
|Cameron Maybin, cf
Age: 23. Position: CF (110 G).
Born: April 4, 1987 in Asheville, N.C.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 210. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Roberson HS, Asheville, N.C.
Career Transactions: Selected by Tigers in first round (10th overall) of 2005 draft; signed Sept. 23, 2005 … Traded by Tigers with LHP Andrew Miller, C Mike Rabelo and RHPs Eulogio de la Cruz, Dallas Trahern and Burke Badenhop to Marlins for 3B Miguel Cabrera and LHP Dontrelle Willis, Dec. 4, 2007.
The Marlins caught only glimpses of Maybin’s five-tool talent in his three years in the organization. He batted .257/.323/.391 with 12 home runs and 14 steals in 499 big league at-bats, while striking out 30 percent of the time. Maybin provides instant value with his center-field defense and running speed, both double-plusses, and with his raw power and bat speed he could grow into a steady 20-20 player on offense. His overall offensive value hinges on how well his bat continues to develop. In parts of two seasons with Triple-A New Orleans, he batted .325/.401/.477 in 428 at-bats, a line supported by a strong 51-to-82 walk-to-strikeout ratio. While Maybin probably won’t ever contend for a batting title, he could settle in at about .270 if he can carry over the gains in pitch recognition and in making contact that he’s made in the high minors. His supporting tools—power, speed, defense, throwing arm—figure to outshine his batting average.
|Ryan Webb, rhp
Born: Feb. 5, 1986 in Clearwater, Fla.
Ht.: 6-6. Wt.: 215. Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Clearwater (Fla.) Central Catholic HS.
Career Transactions: Selected by Athletics in fourth round of 2004 draft; signed June 21, 2004 … Traded by Athletics with RHP Craig Italiano and a player to be named to Padres for OF Scott Hairston, July 5, 2009; Padres acquired RHP Sean Gallagher (July 29, 2009.
The Padres converted Webb into a full-time reliever in 2009 and he made his big league debut that season. Prior to trading him to San Diego, the Athletics had tried for five years to develop him as a starter, but all they got for their trouble was a 27-40 record, a 5.38 ERA and 1.49 WHIP over 505 innings. With two plus pitches, Webb took quickly to a relief role. He sits at 93-95 mph with riding life on his fastball and dominates righthanded batters with a mid-80s power slider. Triple-A righties managed just six hits in 46 at-bats (.130) this season, while big leaguers went 33-for-138 (.239). Webb struggles to get in on lefty batters, however, and the results haven’t been pretty—they’ve batted .305/.385/.475 in 162 such confrontations in the big leagues.
|Edward Mujica, rhp
Age: 26. Remaining Commitment: Arbitration-eligible for 2011-13 seasons ($419,800 salary in ’10).
Contract details courtesy of Cot’s Baseball Contracts.