Tigers get INF Short from Cubs for Maybin

September 1st, 2020

DETROIT -- The Tigers have had practice trading . They haven’t had a Trade Deadline as otherwise quiet as this one in a few years.

With the Tigers at .500 and in contention for a spot in an expanded postseason bracket, Detroit’s lone Deadline deal was an end to Maybin’s third stint with the Tigers. The Tigers traded him to the Cubs for infield prospect just prior to the 4 p.m. ET Deadline.

“They expressed interest maybe a day or so ago, but they weren't sure,” general manager Al Avila said. “Really we only had one conversation and that was it, and then nothing really happened until today, and it happened later in the day, and it went down to the final minutes, actually the final minute.”

Short was ranked 21st on the Cubs' Top 30 Prospects list, per MLB Pipeline. He is now ranked No. 27 in Detroit's Top 30. The 25-year-old batted .235 (50-for-213) with six home runs, 25 RBIs, a .363 on-base percentage and a .767 OPS across three levels last year, ending the season at Triple-A Iowa.

Tigers get: INF prospect Zack Short
Cubs get: OF Cameron Maybin

It was an interesting deal, given the challenges of this season. Though Short was on the Cubs’ 40-man roster, he wasn’t part of the Cubs' player pool, so the Tigers had to rely on information their scouts had on him from last year. But between their research of the Cubs' system leading up to last year’s Nick Castellanos trade, and Short’s work on the same Arizona Fall League team that included Tigers prospects, they had enough to make the trade when talks picked up Monday afternoon. 

“From a makeup perspective he's one of those guys that managers love to manage,” Avila said. “He's a high-energy guy, kind of a baseball rat that plays hard. He's a very good shortstop. From our reports and from our data, he's really Major League ready right now from a defensive perspective. He's got some pop in his bat. He knows how to play the game well, can play all infield positions, has [Minor League] options which is really good, and really upgrades our depth at that position as we move forward for the upcoming years.” 

Short is set to fly from his home in New York state to Detroit on Tuesday and join the alternate training site in Toledo, Ohio, later this week. It’ll be his first chance at game action since Spring Training. As he would watch games on TV, he said, he would grab a bat and try to time the pitcher. 

“It's really been a test to my mental strength, I think, the biggest part,” Short said. “They told me to start [working out], you'll be here within two weeks or so. But I have a few great friends here. I have two younger brothers who were both baseball players, so I kind of found a way every day or so to stay ready one way or another.”

The trade is the fourth the Tigers have made with Maybin involved, and it's the third in which he's been shipped out by Detroit since the team selected the athletic outfielder with its top pick in the 2005 MLB Draft. He was a key prospect sent to the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera trade at the '07 Winter Meetings, then he came back to Detroit in a trade with the Braves after the '15 season before being traded to the Angels after the '16 campaign.

The latest deal was expected. The Tigers signed Maybin to a one-year deal early in Spring Training to provide a veteran presence in the outfield and the clubhouse. He was Detroit’s Opening Day right fielder on July 24 and received regular playing time for the first week until a quad injury forced him to the injured list at the end of July.

Maybin returned in mid-August and homered in his first game back, but he struggled to see playing time amidst Victor Reyes’ emergence while still working through minor injuries. Maybin went 4-for-7 with three doubles in two games against the Cubs last week at Comerica Park.

“Obviously because of injuries, it gave an opportunity for Reyes to go in there and flourish, and he's been doing very well,” Avila said. “So it'll open up the doors for other guys.”

 The Tigers did not announce a move to fill Maybin’s spot on the 28-man roster.

Other than the Maybin deal, the Tigers were quiet at the Deadline, reinforcing general manager Al Avila’s assessment that they were neither buyers nor sellers. The Tigers listened to interest on pitchers, but they decided to keep the bulk of the team together after a five-game winning streak brought Detroit back to the .500 mark.

In the end, though teams expressed interest on pitching, Avila said nothing else was close, and calls dwindled as the Monday afternoon Deadline neared.

“If we would've been able to make one or two trades that in the organization's opinion would've made us better even next year, not so much this year, and the year after that, then that trade would've been made,” Avila said. “We just didn't feel that trade was there. We're open to try to do that, but we're very hesitant to do a trade for a player or players that we feel are not going to upgrade us like that as we move forward. So [we’d] rather keep the players now and keep on winning as much as we can and we'll make adjustments as we go into this winter and we get into next year.”