The Royals have long prided themselves on being strong up the middle, but with Lorenzo Cain eligible for free agency, they could have a big hole in centerfield to fill. Paulo Orlando, Billy Burns, Bubba Starling, and perhaps even Alex Gordon could be internal options to take over centerfield next year, but the Royals may want to look outside the organization for next year’s starter. According to reporter Jon Morosi, the Royals may be looking at free agent Cameron Maybin.
The 30-year old Maybin has been known for his speed, but his bat has never quite developed. He is coming off a championship season with the Astros, but he served in a reserve role for Houston. He hit .228/.318/.365 with 10 HR 35 RBI and 33 steals in 114 games with both the Angels and Astros in 2017, and was a 1.7 WAR player, according to Baseball-Reference. In 11 Major League seasons with the Marlins, Padres, Braves, Tigers, Angels, and Astros, he has hit .255/.321/.372.
Maybin, a right-handed hitter, strikes out a lot for a guy with below-average power. He has a career strikeout rate of 21.3%, but can draw a few walks with a rate of 8.4%, that has spiked upwards the last two seasons. Maybin was a plus defender in center last year, equaling Lorenzo Cain in Defensive Runs Above Average, according to Fangraphs. He also brings great speed, stealing 164 bases in his career with a 78.8% success rate. He also has a long history of injuries missing a good chunk of time in 2013 (wrist and knee), 2015 (wrist), and 2016 (knee). He was also suspended for 25 games in 2014 for amphetamines.
David Cameron at Fangraphs predicted Maybin would land a one-year contract worth $7 million, which sounds about right. At most, Maybin could land a two-year deal, or perhaps the Royals could offer a one-year deal with a club option for 2019 to give them flexibility depending on the development of minor leaguers like Bubba Starling and Donnie Dewees.