Less than 24 hours after the conclusion of the World Series, the Angels and Tigers kicked trade season off in earnest.
The Angels acquired veteran outfielder Cameron Maybin from the Tigers in exchange for hard-throwing Double-A righthander Victor Alcantara on Thursday evening.
Maybin, whose $9 million team option was immediately picked up by the Angels, has been a center fielder his whole career but will play left field in Anaheim in deference to Mike Trout.
The Angels signed Alcantara for $174,000 as an 18-year-old out of the Dominican Republic in 2011. He quickly became one of their top prospects based on his superb arm strength and chiseled frame, routinely hitting 100 mph with his fastball and sitting 95-98. For all his raw strength however, Alcantara never learned how to harness it. The 6-foot-2, 190-pounder has issued 4.5 walks per nine innings in his career, with at least 14 wild pitches in every season as a starter. The Angels let him start until mid-2016, when they shifted him to the bullpen with Double-A Arkansas. Alcantara’s control and secondary pitches—an upper-80s changeup and low-90s slider—never improved beyond fringe-average and his velocity dropped, now topping out at 97 and sitting 93-95. The result was the lowest strikeout rate of his career, 6.4 strikeouts per nine, this past season, and he issued more walks than strikeouts while posting a 13.50 ERA in the Arizona Fall League. He is still just 23 and was hitting triple digits as recently as last year, so the Tigers are making an upside play in the hope they can rebuild his arm strength and get him control the Angels never could.
The 10th overall pick in 2005 has struggled with injuries throughout his career but been productive when healthy recently, hitting .315/.383/.415 in 93 games with the Tigers last season. However, Maybin has played 100 games just three times in the last seven seasons and as a result has been traded four times since 2010, including this most recent deal. His speed is still present on the basepaths (38 stolen bases the last two years combined) but he has slowed down considerably on defense and been one of the worst defensive center fielders in baseball the last two seasons, posting minus-16 defensive runs saved in 2015 and minus-12 in 2016, according to Baseball-Reference. Maybin has not played left field since 10 games there as a rookie in 2007. His .287/350/.390 slash line the last two seasons is still a massive upgrade over Angels left fielders in that same time, a collection of journeymen who combined for a .574 OPS in 2015 and .628 OPS in 2016.