Cameron Maybin feasting away from Petco Park

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Cameron Maybin isn’t exactly taking to San Diego just yet, but he does appear to be fulfilling his potential with the Padres after coming from the Marlins for a pair of relievers over the winter.

Maybin went 4-for-4 with two homers Friday against the Rockies at Coors Field, giving him five homers and a .273/.348/.453 line this season.  His OPS is 40 points higher than that of the Padres’ second-best regular (the currently DL’d Nick Hundley).

Maybin has been a typical Padre at Petco Park this year, hitting .213/.298/.320 compared to the team’s overall line of .206/.288/.317.   On the road, though, it’s been a different story.   After Friday’s game, he’s batting .344/.408/.609 in 64 at-bats in away games.  He’s driven in 10 runs and scored 16 in 17 games.

Perhaps Maybin won’t maintain his current pace, but it looks like the Padres made a great trade to bring him to town.  Losing Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica in the deal with the Marlins hasn’t hurt the bullpen at all, and Maybin has far more offensive upside than last year’s center fielder, Tony Gwynn Jr.  Maybin is just 24, and while he’s always struck out a ton, he has plenty of power, he’ll take a walk and he’s an asset on the basepaths.  Defensively, he’s a notch below the elite, but he’s above average in center field.  The talent is there for him to go to All-Star Games in his prime.

Nationals’ sell-off a vindication for Dusty Baker

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The Nationals threw in the towel on Tuesday, trading second baseman Daniel Murphy to the Cubs and 1B/OF Matt Adams to the Cardinals. The club also placed outfielder and soon-to-be free agent Bryce Harper on revocable waivers but took him back. The Nats’ sell-off is a vindication for former manager Dusty Baker, let go after the Nationals failed to advance past the NLDS for a second straight year.

Baker had roughly the same team current manager Dave Martinez did. It was arguably worse, considering he never wrote Juan Soto‘s name on the lineup card. The 2018 squad, sans Baker, has been marked by mutiny and underachievement. While failing to reach the NLCS in Baker’s two years was disappointing, he took them to Game 5 in the NLDS both years as well as 95 and 97 regular season wins. Right now, Martinez’s squad has a winning percentage more than 100 points lower than Baker’s last year. They’re on pace to go 80-82, which would be their first sub-.500 season since 2011.

Baker has always had an undeserved bad rap. He was, correctly, blamed for the Cubs’ demise, due somewhat to Kerry Wood and Mark Prior falling apart, ostensibly from overuse. However, after his stint in Chicago, Baker took the lowly Reds from the bottom of the NL Central to the top in two years between 2008-10. Then he took the Nationals, which had won a meager 83 games in 2015 and had made the playoffs just twice since moving from Montreal, to two consecutive NLDS Game 5’s.

Not much changed from 2017 to ’18. Martinez inherited Ryan Zimmerman, Trea Turner, Anthony Rendon, Michael Taylor, Bryce Harper, Adam Eaton, Daniel Murphy, Matt Wieters, Max Scherzer, Tanner Roark, Gio Gonzalez, Stephen Strasburg, Sean Doolittle, Ryan Madson, Brandon Kintzler, Shawn Kelley, and Koda Glover, among others. But for one reason or another — injuries, admittedly, make up one reason — almost all of these players are having worse years under Martinez than under Baker. Describing the 2018 team to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal, Baker said, “They’re together, but they’re separate.”

Is it strictly Baker that would make the difference? No, of course not. But the Nationals organization seems unwilling or unable to address issues that may extend into the front office. The Nats seem happy to go through a new manager every couple of years and hope that fixes all that ails them. Since Frank Robinson’s five years at the helm from 2002-06, Manny Acta managed two and a half years, Jim Riggleman one and a half, Davey Johnson two, Matt Williams two, Baker two. Maybe the problem was never the manager. Perhaps the problem is the Lerner family and Mike Rizzo.