Was Cameron Maybin born under a bad sign? If it weren't for bad luck, the Padres centerfielder might have no luck at all, at least as the old blues classic goes. On Monday, his team announced that he will miss two to three months due to a ruptured left biceps tendon discovered via an MRI scan.
That bad news comes on the heels of a season in which Maybin played in just 14 major-league games due to an impingement in his right wrist caused by torn cartilage and loose bodies, as well as a torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee; the wrist injury eventually required season-ending surgery. He sustained his latest injury making a diving catch during Sunday's Cactus League game against the Dodgers, jarring his non-throwing shoulder and rupturing the tendon. While he originally remained in the game after the catch, he was in so much pain that he dropped his glove between pitches.
It's been something of a rough road for Maybin in the last few years. Chosen 10th overall in the 2005 draft by the Tigers out of a North Carolina high school, he was a key piece in the December 2007 blockbuster that sent Miguel Cabrera and Dontrelle Willis to Detroit. During parts of three seasons (2008-2010) with Florida, he was yo-yoed between the majors and Triple-A before being dealt to the Padres in November 2010. He broke out in 2011, hitting .264/.323/.393 and playing above-average defense en route to 4.5 WAR, and the following spring, just shy of his 25th birthday — two years ago Monday, in fact — the Padres signed him to a five-year, $25 million extension. But Maybin's performance at the plate slipped somewhat in 2012, down to .243/.306/.349, though his solid defense helped him post a 2.9 WAR. 2013, however, went down as a lost season, and the hope for a rebound in 2014 takes a hit with this latest injury.
If there's good news, it's that Maybin didn't suffer any damage to his shoulder capsule or rotator cuff, injuries that could have potentially wiped out his 2014 season entirely. He should be back sometime this summer and have a chance to re-establish himself as a staple in the Padres' lineup.
For the moment, his absence simplifies San Diego's crowded outfield picture. Will Venable, who's coming off a breakout 2013 season in which he established both that he could hit southpaws and man center field, will get another chance to graze in the middle pasture, while the platoon-ready combination of righty Chris Denorfia and newly-acquired lefty Seth Smith handles right field. What remains to be seen is whether Carlos Quentin can remain upright for a significant amount of time in left field given that he's played just 168 games over the past two years. Utilityman Alexi Amarista, who made a team-high 53 starts in center field last year (one more than Venable) is a likely candidate to cover center in the event another body is needed. A healthy Maybin would make for quite a crowd in the outfield. At the moment, that's a problem the Padres can only dream of; here's hoping it becomes a reality in a timely fashion.