Detroit Tigers Ron Gardenhire: Trading OF Cameron Maybin came out of nowhere – Detroit Free Press

Manager Ron Gardenhire was surprised Monday when the Detroit Tigers traded outfielder Cameron Maybin to the Chicago Cubs.

Typically, he meets with general manager Al Avila to discuss trades before leaving the final decision in the hands of his boss. But this was a last-minute trade at the 4 p.m.deadline; there was no time for a conversation.

“Really, this one came out of nowhere,” Gardenhire said Tuesday. “We talked about it a while back, but all of a sudden, they came and approached, and Al talked to them. … Al called me and told me he went ahead and made the deal.”

This is the third time the Tigers have traded Maybin. He was involved in the package to acquire Miguel Cabrera from the Miami Marlins in 2007 and shipped to the Los Angeles Angeles in 2016.

The 33-year-old was a a voice of reason for his teammates during his last two stops in Detroit.

“It’s always nice when somebody wants you, some other team,” Gardenhire said. “That means you bring something to the table, and he did here. … He’s been doing this a long time, so he meant a lot. It’s a loss for us.”

For subscribers: Explaining Tigers’ inaction at trade deadline, and what the choices mean moving forward

Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones celebrates his three-run homer against Royals pitcher Mike Montgomery with Victor Reyes, center, and Cameron Maybin during the second inning Tigers center fielder JaCoby Jones hits a three-run homer against Royals pitcher Mike Montgomery during the second inning at Comerica Park on Monday, July 27, 2020.

The Tigers received 25-year-old infield prospect Zack Short in Monday’s trade and optioned him to the alternate training site in Toledo. The Tigers couldn’t justify keeping Maybin, who was on a one-year contract, was mixing reps with others in right field and had a stint on the 10-day injured list.

[ Detroit’s newest infielder hasn’t made his debut, but Tigers say Zack Short is ‘MLB-ready’ ]

Maybin slashed .244/.311/.415 in 14 games for the Tigers this season. His 14 years of experience would have helped in a chase for the postseason. And yet, the organization feels comfortable with a combination of Jorge Bonifacio, Victor Reyes and Travis Demeritte — who joined the 28-man roster Tuesday — platooning in his place. Christin Stewart will stay in right field, and JaCoby Jones will remain in center field.

[ Detroit Tigers make one trade at deadline, keep roster intact for playoff push ]

“He was a huge impact for us in the locker room and on the field, just as far as preparation goes, showing young guys what it’s like to be a professional,” Jones said Tuesday. “When I got called up to the big leagues, he was like a big brother to me. When he came back over here, he still was. He’s like a big brother to everybody, honestly.

“One of the best teammates I’ve ever had, so we’ll miss him dearly.”

Castro: ‘I’ll play anywhere’

Because of rookie third baseman Isaac Paredes, the Tigers haven’t been able to get 23-year-old Willi Castro as many at-bats. To fix the problem, they’ve transitioned Castro, who also plays third, into a utility role, meaning he will play in the infield and outfield.

Castro has started working with first base coach and outfielder instructor Dave Clark. Gardenhire has been impressed with the progress, and Avila thinks Castro will get action in the outfield soon.

“Being in the outfield is going to maybe open some more doors,” Castro said. “Anywhere I am, I’m going to play how it is and try to be good there. I’ve got to get a little better in the outfield, but I know I will get it soon. It’s a process. Just practice.”

Detroit Tigers' Willi Castro rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run off Cleveland Indians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie during the fourth inning Saturday, Aug. 22, 2020, in Cleveland.

In 11 games, Castro is hitting .314 with two homers and five RBIs. He was ranked as the club’s No. 11 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, when he made his MLB debut in 2019. 

If the Tigers decide to move on from shortstop Niko Goodrum, a .194 hitter through 30 games, a full-time spot would open for Castro in the middle of the infield, leaving Paredes at third base until further notice.

“Sometimes you’re going to live with some of these struggles going through it,” Gardenhire said of Goodrum. “Hopefully, he’ll find his way out of it and get a better swing going, but he’s playing such good defense for us. And we’re winning ballgames.

“If we were losing ballgames and going through that, it might make a difference. But we’re winning ballgames with that combo up the middle (including second baseman Jonathan Schoop), and I’m really happy with that part of it.”

Injury updates

C Austin Romine: The Tigers held Romine out for the second consecutive game (over a three-day period) and started backup Grayson Greiner for Tuesday’s game against the Brewers.

INF/OF Harold Castro: He is performing all on-field baseball activities and is transitioning into base-running drills. He  has been on the 10-day injured list since Aug. 19 with a left hamstring strain.

RHP Ivan Nova: He is finishing the long-toss section of his rehabilitation and will begin throwing off the mound soon. Nova has been on the 10-day injured list since Aug. 15 with right triceps tendinitis.

RHP Jordan Zimmermann: He will finish the live pitching portion of his throwing progression Friday. Zimmermann has been on the 45-day injured list since July 18 with a right forearm strain.

Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at epetzold@freepress.com or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Detroit Tigers content

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