Redemption Or Reality Check: Cameron Maybin Faces Final Shot In Florida

James Bondman@@james_bondmanCorrespondent IAugust 22, 2010

NEW YORK - APRIL 28:  Cameron Maybin #24  of the Florida Marlins in action against the New York Mets during their game on April 28, 2009 at Citi Field in the Flushing neighborhood of the Queens borough of New York City.  (Photo by Al Bello/Getty Images)
Al Bello/Getty Images

Shortly after the Marlins lost to the Houston Astros Sunday, they awarded the San Francisco Giants Cody Ross and his remaining $725,000 salary to head out to the West Coast.

It was a bit of a shock considering many expected him to stay put with the intention that perhaps he got moved for pieces in the offseason. Instead Ross was let go for no compensation to another team vying for a playoff spot ahead of the Marlins. 

That leaves the Marlins with their knight and shining armor of the Miguel Cabrera deal of 2007, Cameron Maybin

Ironically, Andrew Miller and Burke Badenhop, both pieces of the Miguel Cabrera-Dontrelle Willis deal pitched a combined seven innings allowing one run against the Astros on Sunday. Not bad but it came at a loss.  

Yet all eyes turn to Maybin who has been given countless opportunities to nab centerfield for the Marlins but hasn't hit well enough to take it. Last season, the Marlins started with Maybin in centerfield but he hit .202 with a home run and stolen base. He was given a second shot at being giving the role in 2010 and delivered hitting a modest .293 with three home runs between September and October. 

Again, Maybin did not hold on to the spot in 2010 hitting .225 before being demoted back down to the Marlins triple A affiliate, New Orleans. 

Here we go again with Maybin being called up a third time, maybe the third time really is the charm for Maybin and he'll deliver like promised when the Marlins pulled the trigger on the deal nearly a few years ago?

Remember, Maybin was suppose to project to be a 30-plus home run hitter with the ability to be a 30-30 guy year in and year out. 

Many fans consider Maybin to be a bust along the lines of another centerfielder the Marlins had in 2006 and 2007, prior to Maybin's arrival.

Reggie Abercrombie.

Abercrombie had raw power and when he went deep they went to the deepest reaches of the ballpark but Abercrombie didn't last, hitting in the neighborhood of the Mendoza Line.

Abrecrombie's minor league numbers are impressive with high base-stealing totals and tons of home runs. 

Maybin hit .338 with four home runs and 23 RBIs in 33 games with (AAA) New Orleans. Impressive "minor league" numbers but will it translate finally to the big leagues at the age of 23?

That's to be seen, but this much is certain, Maybin has nothing else to prove in the minor leagues anymore, he has exhausted pitchers with his hitting ability down there and must now do it in the majors. In other words, Maybin is going out to center field for a final audition before the Marlins perhaps deal Maybin if he can't get going. 

In a way, the Marlins may have done the smart thing in letting Ross go, knowing they may have not gotten much for a slumping slugger over a potentially a young bust in Maybin who many other teams may take a chance on.

Let's hope it doesn't come to that.  

Maybin will now be given the next six weeks to proven himself worthy of keeping his job, a huge sample size, that should determine whether is legit or a flat out bust. 

Glimmer of Hope

On the bright side, my gut feeling is that Maybin will finally breakout this season, his last possible shot at staying with the Fish. Part of his big league struggles may be because he was rushed up too early, at age 20 and he got discouraged a bit. 

If any fans have any worries about whether Maybin is going to deliver this time, I would compare Maybin to a second coming of Curtis Granderson when he came up with Detroit. Here is a comparison of their minor league numbers:

Camerom Maybin: 418 games, .306 average, 44 home runs, 238 RBIs, 86 stolen bases, 414 strikeouts, 214 walks (including .393 on-base percentage) 

Curtis Granderson: 423 games, .300 average 50 home runs, 246 RBIs, 55 stolen bases, 335 strikeouts, 200 walks (including .382 on-base percentage) 

The numbers are roughly similar through the same number of games and remember that Granderson didn't come up until 2004 at age 23 and fully play until he was 24 in 2005.

Granderson is notorious for striking out and having a mid-high batting average, yet he is inconsistent, after hitting 30 home runs last season, he has hit 13 this year; similar to Maybin when he first came up in 2008 hitting .500 (16 for 32) in eight games and last September/October when he hit .293.

This time, Maybin will be given his opportunity to shine and if he doesn't deliver he is out, he probably stays if he can hit at least .250 but he'll need to drive in runs and steal bases and most likely that might not happen because he is looking at hitting seventh or eight. 

The bottom line here is that Marlins are giving Maybin more time to develop in the majors in these last few months. He did play for Edwin Rodriguez before in the minors so maybe he gets it going here. The Marlins are going on a Maybin six week program to see if he will finally become the successor to Juan Pierre (Cody Ross played corner outfield so he does not count).


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