Billy Eppler waited all of 18 hours after the final out of the World Series before heating up the hot stove. The Angels acquired outfielder, Cameron Maybin, from the Detroit Tigers on Thursday afternoon.
In a long-term search for an every day left fielder, Eppler and the Angels went to the 29-year-old outfielder in a "sign-and-trade" deal, along with sending pitching prospect, Victor Alcantara to Detroit. The Angels will excercize a $9 million team option on Maybin.
"This was something that clearly was an objective of ours heading into the winter was to address left field," said Eppler. "We identified a number of candidates, the obvious ones being guys heading towards free agency, and the not so obvious ones were players with other clubs that might be able to be acquired via trade."
After nine years of mediocrity, Maybin broke out in 2016 with the Tigers, hitting .315 with an .801 OPS. His 120 wRC+ ranked 13th highest in the American League among outfielders with the same number of plate appearances. His 2.0 WAR (FanGraphs) ranked 20th of 54 outfielders in the AL with over 300 plate appearances in 2016.
The former top prospect and 10th overall pick in 2005 struggled in his first nine years in the Major Leagues, hitting .251 with a .313 on-base percentage and .678 OPS. Maybin attributes his recent success to his hitting coach in Atlanta in 2015, Kevin Seitzer.
“Working on my mechanics a lot, studying my swing,” Maybin said. “I had an opportunity to work with Kevin Seitzer and he pretty much changed my career, learning how to become the best player I can be.”
A new, and large part of Maybin's presence, will be the addition of another center-fielder of the lineup bat. Eppler confirmed that Maybin will be the primary left-fielder for the Angels, and the new outfielder is happy to take that role while playing for a manager he respects.
“I’m looking forward to playing for Mike Scioscia," Maybin proclaimed. "I enjoyed watching him from afar. He always has guys moving. It’s like poetry in motion.”
"I look forward to playing left-field beside Mike Trout, one of the best center fielders in the game. I think you put two center fielders out there, I think I'll be able to make his job a lot easier, and vice versa."
Though there still remains multiple holes in the Angels' lineup, a left-handed bat is not one Billy Eppler sees a "necessity" in acquiring. Though he will explore other options to fill as "compliments" to Maybin, Mike Trout, and Kole Calhoun in the outfield, a platoon situation won't arise even if a left-handed hitter is brought in due to his OPS splits.
Over the last three seasons, Maybin has near matching splits vs. left-handed pitchers and right-handed pitchers. Against southpaws, a .700 OPS. Against righties, .717 OPS. Also noted by the Angels General Manager was an improved contact rate from 78.8% to 80.4%
Eppler and the Angels found comfort in already having an idea of the player they'd be getting thanks to help from a fellow Front Office member. From 2012-2014, Maybin played under then San Diego manager, Bud Black, who currently serves as a Special Assistant to the General Manager for the Angels.
"We had a sense for the type of player from a physical and performance stand point that we would be potentially acquring, but also had a sense of the type of person we'd be acquiring."
In an Instagram post, Maybin thanked the city and fans of Detroit.
"Special thanks to the Tigers fans, the city of Detroit, and my teammates! I truly enjoyed the love and energy sent my way all season! Detroit will always hold a special place in my heart!"
The Angels are sending pitching prospect, Victor Alcantara, to the Tigers in the trade. The 23-year-old held a 4.60 ERA in five seasons in the Angels farm system, striking out eight-per-nine. Alcantara was the seventh ranked prospect in the Angels system, according to Scout.com.
Known for his "herky-jerky" delivery, Alcantara comes equipped with a mid-to-high 90's sinking fastball and power slider that looks more like a cutter at times. He was moved to the bullpen this past season in Double-A Arkansas, due to his inability to throw strikes consistently, which showed in his 4.5 walks-per-nine over his tenure with the Angels organization.
This article was written and published by Scout.com Senior Publisher, Taylor Blake Ward. For more updates on the Los Angeles Angels, follow Taylor on Twitter, @TaylorBlakeWard.