By: Will Burchfield
Cameron Maybin would have loved to remain a Detroit Tiger.
But the team traded him to the Angels in the offseason, a move that Maybin said stung.
“A little bit, to be honest with you. You turn the page and move on, got a good, humble group of guys here. But for sure, I enjoyed being back where it started for me, the team that gave me my first opportunity and then gave me a chance last year to continue to show what I can do. I’ve got nothing bad to say about this organization at all, but it was definitely somewhat of a bummer,” Maybin said on Tuesday in the visitor’s clubhouse at Comerica Park.
The center fielder had a career year in 2016, hitting .315 over 94 games. But the Tigers didn’t think Maybin’s numbers were sustainable, so they shipped him to the Angels, who picked up his $9 million option.
“I kind of expected it,” Maybin said. “I had that weird feeling. People asked me and they looked at the year (I had) and thought there’s no way, but sometimes you get those weird gut feelings that something’s not gonna shake the way you expect it to. So I wasn’t too surprised when it happened, which made it a little easier to deal with.”
Maybin was lethal at Comerica Park last season. In 53 games he hit .374 with a .945 OPS. He won’t be able to take the field for this series, sidelined with a sore oblique, and suffice to say he’s bummed.
“Very, very. I got out there today, and I was running around and thinking, ‘Damn I played good here,'” Maybin said with a laugh. “I wish I was going to be on the field, just the atmosphere, the atmosphere that I spoke about last year. The fans here are truly amazing, the way they get behind the guys through the ups and downs. I’ll definitely miss not playing this series for sure.
“These fans were incredible to me last year and I really enjoyed giving them a great effort every day. But hopefully somehow I’ll be back next year and get a chance to play.”
As much as he misses the fans, Maybin misses his former teammates even more. When he learned he was being traded, many of them came to his side.
“I talked to a lot of guys in that clubhouse, they made me feel a lot better. They seem to miss me, talking to those guys, and I miss those guys as well. Those guys became my brothers last year and I’m still tight with most of them. I went over there and saw them and spoke to pretty much everybody I could see,” he said. “But those guys made me feel good. They let me know, even throughout this year, they miss my energy in the clubhouse. Things like that made it a lot easier to continue to go about (my) business.”
Maybin doesn’t follow the Tigers anymore, but does his best to keep tabs on the players he’s closest with.
“I watch guys like Vic, Miggy, J-Up, Kins, the guys that I was really tight with. Of course I’m still wishing them the best,” he said. ” But for the most part, nah, I haven’t really been able to keep up — plus everybody’s asleep while we’re up, and we’re up while everybody’s asleep. So it’s tough man, the time (difference), I’m still getting used to that.”
After a slow start to the season, Maybin began heating up in May. Over 44 games, he’s hitting .242 with 13 stolen bases.
“That’s kind of how it has to be sometimes, you just grind until you get going,” he said.
The Tigers have had a hard time replacing Maybin’s production in center field. They’ve gone through a carousel of players and still haven’t found an everyday solution. It may well stay that way for the rest of the season.
“The grass isn’t always greener like we tend to think in this game sometimes,” Maybin said. “But it’s a part of the business. Again, being around those guys last year, it’s one of those things where I wish whoever they give the opportunity to the best. I watch (Andrew) Romine play out there and I think he’s doing an outstanding job for what they’re asking him to do. It’s not an easy position to play, especially at this ballpark.”