In a surprise move, the Tigers have promoted Cameron Maybin to the majors this morning. This was an unexpected transaction because he had played just 6 days in AA ball and Dave Dombrowski said last week he was not a candidate for a September call up. In a related move, Craig Monroe has been designated for assignment. This could mean we'll hear about a trade in the next few days. In addition, Omar Infante has been sent to Toledo and Ramon Santiago recalled from the same club.
Maybin is just 20 years old and bats right-handed. He is an extremely talented player who has all five tools. This means he can hit for average, hit for power, field, throw and run with the best of them. He has been compared to a young Eric Davis. He spent most of the year in Lakeland (A ball) where he batted .304/.393/.486 with 25 stolen bases in 296 at bats. The only negative was his 83 strikeouts in 296 at bats which suggests he may struggle initially in the majors. He was promoted to AA Erie just a week ago and hit .400 with 4 home runs in his first 6 games.
Why would they promote Maybin so quickly with Marcus Thames, Ryan Raburn and previously Craig Monroe already battling for playing time in the outfield? If they just wanted some insurance defensively, it would have been easier to call up Timo Perez or Brent Clevlen. One possibility is that Dave Dombrowski and Jim Leyland are looking to energize the team given its poor play over the past month. The fact that they also demoted Omar Infante, who has been accused of lackluster effort at times, adds fuel to that theory.
I'm skeptical as to whether Maybin will hit any better down the stretch than Raburn and Thames but he will surely be a better fielder. In fact, somewhere down the line (probably not this year), it will be a question of who plays center and left between Maybin and Curtis Granderson. Regardless of the reasoning behind it, this an exciting move and I'm looking forward to seeing him play.