Kansas City Royals Rumors: Cameron Maybin could be center field target

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Cameron Maybin
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 01: Cameron Maybin /

With Lorenzo Cain looking likely to sign elsewhere this winter, the Kansas City Royals need to find a replacement for center field. Could Cameron Maybin be that guy?

The Kansas City Royals have apparently discussed the possibility of bringing back Eric Hosmer and Mike Moustakas. But it appears as though the team has resigned to the fact it won’t be able to re-sign Lorenzo Cain. (See what I did there.)

That means there is an opening for Kansas City Royals center fielder. Assuming Dayton Moore doesn’t take out an ad on Craigslist, the front office has two options: in-house or free agency.

There are plenty of players in the former category, although none are particularly inspiring. A few of them have played the position before at the major-league level. Although, players like Alex Gordon and Paulo Orlando are much better suited for corner outfield positions. Others would be asked to contribute above what should probably be expected of them. Guys like Bubba Starling and other less-heralded prospects make up this group.

Obviously, a rebuilding organization would be forgiven if it decided one of the in-house options made more sense — either as a stopgap or a trial by fire for one of the prospects. But a team looking to contend in 2018 would need to look to the free agent market for a discount center fielder. One of those players — who just secured himself a World Series ring — has been discussed internally as a possible Cain replacement, according to MLB.com columnist Jon Morosi:

Does Maybin make sense?

Let’s make one thing clear: Cameron Maybin is not Cain, not by a long shot. However, he is still a good defender with nice speed. Offensively is where the main difference lies with the two players. Cain hit .300 this season with 15 home runs; Maybin had 10 home runs and a .228 batting average. Maybin is just a year removed from hitting .315 over 94 games for Detroit. However, that seems to be an anomaly considering he hits to a .255 career average.

The right-handed hitter will turn 31 just after the start of the 2018 season. Clearly, the Kansas City Royals wouldn’t be signing him to a five-year contract, but it’s likely his main attributes — speed and defense — will fall off soon enough. Even if they don’t, is his superior defense and base-running ability really worth the awful offensive numbers?

What about Dyson?

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For what it’s worth, Maybin’s stats line up pretty well with Jarrod Dyson‘s this year with Seattle. They played roughly the same number of games (114 for Maybin and 111 for Dyson). Maybin hit to a .228/.318/.365/ line, while Dyson batted .251/.324/.350. At 33, Dyson is significantly older, but they should be considered comparable players when evaluating center field targets.

According to Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, both players will likely land two-year deals this offseason — as will Austin Jackson, another potential target. Heyman deemed Maybin the cheapest of the three. Regardless, any of the three would be the starter for probably just a single season until one of the center field prospects is ready to take over. Perhaps, the second year of the contract will involve a platoon situation or maybe a move to fourth outfielder for whichever aging veteran signs this winter.

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What do you think? Would Maybin make sense to replace Cain? Would you prefer Dyson or Jackson instead? Let us know in the comments and on social media.