Last week the San Diego Padres locked up Cameron Maybin, signing the 24-year-old to a five year contract extension. In less notable news, I traded for him in the staff Ottoneu league last week in exchange for Martin Prado. There was some debate as to who got the better end of the deal, which is why we’re bringing it to you, the reader. In the coming paragraphs, both myself and my trade partner, Ben Duronio, will explain our side of the trade. Feel free to openly ridicule both of us.
The auction for Maybin was more subdued than I anticipated. Sadly, I was low on cash and once the price got beyond $10 I was out of the running. I’d pick up Prado for $6 a bit later, completing my five man outfield. Having third base eligibility did little for me as I already had Evan Longoria and Adrian Beltre. Prado joined an outfield of Andrew McCutchen, Nelson Cruz, B.J. Upton and Coco Crisp. His BABIP was 49 points lower than his xBABIP, a main factor in his poor 2011. If he doesn’t hit for a high average he’s not very valuable in most formats. It’s the one thing he’d done exceedingly well from 2008-2010. Since our league doesn’t count batting average he was of little use as a starter. I have a philosophy that unless you stand out in one category I’d rather not have you in my outfield. Prado’s 10-15 home run power wasn’t appealing, and although he hit 38 and 40 doubles in 2009 and 2010 that wasn’t enough to sway me.
If the BABIP reverts back to his career norms you have a pretty good idea what Prado is going to give you. The latter isn’t true of Maybin. He broke out last season in a big way, stealing 40 bases in 137 games. None of the six projection systems listed on Fangraphs pegs him to swipe that many bags again, though I’m not exactly sure why. Yes, he was only caught eight times last season, but has the potential to get on base at higher than a .323 clip. More opportunity likely yields higher results.
With Maybin you’re betting on potential. Unlike Ben, I came out of the draft with money ($21) to spare, so taking on $6 wasn’t an ordeal. Simply put, Prado didn’t excite me in the least, and doesn’t strike me as a great starter in Ottoneu, especially in the outfield. The youth and speed of Maybin are what drew me to him. Double digit home runs and 50 stolen bases aren’t out of the question, and that’s something I couldn’t pass up to keep a player like Prado.
This trade made a lot of sense for me, solely due to Prado’s third base eligibility. I had a mix of Sean Rodriguez, Wilson Betemit, and Casey McGehee as my third basemen, which is obviously a very poor list. Prado is an easy upgrade over the rest of them, though I still plan to start Betemit against right-handed pitchers on nights where one of my outfielders has a bad matchup.
A big part of my offense is flexibility. I have four players who are strict platoon type players, and will move them in and out of the lineup accordingly. Prado only enhances that flexibility, and gives me some depth in case of an injury at other positions. To be frank, I don’t love Prado this year. I think his true talent is probably in between his 2010 and 2011 season, so probably a ~.325 wOBA player. Even so, he has a career wRC+ of 109 against right-handed pitching and 108 against lefties. Acquiring a player who I can put in the lineup every day while also being able to mix and match at other positions was important to me, so I was willing to move a player like Maybin to get someone who fit more into what I was trying to build offensively.
Projections really helped me make this decision. ZiPS projects Prado get 709.3 Ottoneu points while it has Maybin at 638. Even last year, when Maybin broke out and Prado had his worst year yet, Maybin totaled 637 points and Prado netted 549, which is a good deal less on Prado’s end but is at least somewhat comparable.
I was not completely sold on making the move even after looking at projections and past performance in Ottoneu, but the difference in price made it a must trade to me. I did not trade Maybin because I am low on him, I actually drafted him at $12 because I expect big things this season. His SB-CS rate is terrific and he nets a good deal of triples, which has a good amount of value in this format. Having just $1 and one roster spot left over, I was essentially broke and needed some payroll flexibility. Moving Maybin while acquiring a third baseman who fits into my team’s flexible philosophy, has the potential to actually outscore Maybin if he has a solid season, and being able to shed $6 of payroll just seemed like a near ideal move for me to make at the time.
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