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Why Yankees fans should root for Cameron Maybin

The newest member of the Yankees is the ultimate mercenary, but his attitude wouldn’t reflect that

New York Yankees v San Francisco Giants Photo by Daniel Shirey/Getty Images

Aaron Judge has 1360 major league plate appearances to his name. That’s 314 games. He’s accrued 14.0 fWAR in that time. Giancarlo Stanton has 4840 plate appearances over 1147 big league games, and 39.0 fWAR to go along with that.

Cameron Maybin is faced with the unenviable task of replacing those two players for the time being. He’s played more than a thousand MLB games - his first full season was one year before Stanton’s debut. Maybin has also accrued less fWAR than Judge has, just 13.4 for his major league career.

Yet Maybin is healthy, can play a capable outfield, and was available for the ubiquitous cash considerations in a trade with Cleveland last week. He’s a fill-in that was acquired because the first three options on the team have gone down with injuries. It wasn’t until Clint Frazier injured his ankle that the need for Maybin became so apparent. And yet, he couldn’t be happier to be in pinstripes:

I’m not going to post every single tweet from Maybin’s account for the last week, but they’re all celebratory. The man is tickled to be joining his new team, and he hit .375 in his first series in San Francisco. He’s not a good hitter — a career 92 wRC+ means he’s about as good as Brett Gardner was last year — and he’s only here for a brief time, but he appears to be having fun while it lasts.

Maybin’s a pro, he knows the situation of the team, and more importantly, he knows the skill level for which he’s substituting. Judge and Stanton are two of the top 15 or so true talent hitters in baseball, and even Frazier seems to be a different player now. Maybin would lose an open spring training competition to any of these three guys, and he’ll certainly lose his job when they return.

We’ll see what the Yankees decide to do with Stanton when he returns. Miguel Andujar will be back before that, and he’ll either take over third base or serve as the team’s designated hitter. Stanton will then come back, same with Frazier, and all of a sudden the roster gets crowded.

Thairo Estrada will be one of the first players dropped off the 25-man roster, but after that the choices get difficult. Gio Urshela has played too well to lose his job, and the Yankees seem to like the versatility Tyler Wade presents. Designating Cameron Maybin for assignment would be an easy way to open up roster slots for the returning regulars.

Maybin is not going to be on this team for long, but his joy at being on the team is worth celebrating. We yearn for players to show more personality; we look for the fun things in baseball. For however short a time, Cameron Maybin’s enthusiasm brings fun to the Yankees. Enjoy it while it lasts.