Dan Hayes of the North County Times has reported that the San Diego Padres have signed centerfielder Cameron Maybin to a five-year, $25-million extension with an option for 2017 believed to be worth between $7-8-million (confirmed by Corey Brock and Ken Rosenthal). The deal buys out all three of Maybin’s arbitration years plus at least one free agent year at a very respectable price.

Maybin had a breakout season in 2011 amassing a .325 wOBA and excellent defensive numbers across the board. The soon-to-be 25-year-old stole 40 bases in just 137 games and showed more more pop than he had previously in his career amassing a .393 slugging percentage. His value according to the various statistical databases was as follows:

  • 4.7 fWAR (FanGraphs)
  • 2.9 rWAR (Baseball Reference)
  • 3.4 WARP (Baseball Prospectus)

The biggest difference in Maybin’s game came from a significantly reduced strikeout rate which fell from 28.6% in 2010 to a more respectable (although still not excellent) 22.0% rate.

No matter how you look at it, this is a great deal for the Padres. Maybin has been one of the most highly-touted young outfielders in the game for what seems like forever. He was drafted tenth overall by the Detroit Tigers out of a North Carolina high school back in 2005 before being dealt ahead of the 2008 season to the Marlins in the Miguel Cabrera/Dontrelle Willis deal. Things never really clicked in South Florida for Maybin and the Marlins gave up on him, trading him to the Padres last winter for two relievers: Edward Mujica and Ryan Webb.

Not only have the Padres signed Maybin to an incredibly team-friendly deal, but they got him for spare parts. The Blue Jays are no doubt hoping for a similar narrative to start forming with Colby Rasmus.

And the rest:

I know we’ll all be bored of it in a week, but real actual for real baseball starts today. I mean, real actual for real baseball that technically doesn’t count, but still. This is an exciting day. If you don’t have MLB.tv or the MLB At-Bat service, I highly recommend it. It’s a ridiculously good deal. I’m using mine to listen to the Blue Jays/Pirates game right now.

Want to hear Bill Simmons interview Bill James for an hour in front of a live audience at the Sloan Conference in Boston? Well, you’re in luck! James, although very obviously socially awkward (who isn’t, really?) still has incredibly insightful things to say about baseball analytics among many other things.

Matt Klaassen takes a look at the effect losing Grady Sizemore will have on the Clevelands for FanGraphs.

Staying in the FanGraphs family, Mike Newman talks about Braves 2011 draft pick Sean Gilmartin and gives a quick scouting report based on the two starts he saw.

Finally, Jeff Zimmerman has been doing great work with Disabled List information and is making tons of handy and informative charts. Yesterday, he took a look at DL info for the last ten years.

Jonathan Bernhardt takes a look at Chris Sale of the White Sox, Daniel Bard of the Red Sox and Neftali Feliz of the Rangers and their attempted jump from the bullpen to the starting rotation.

Yu Darvish pitched in the Rangers intersquad game yesterday and needed 21 pitches (11 of which were strikes) to disposed of Ian Kinsler, Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre, while walking Josh Hamilton. Although a little wild, Darvish’s stuff was apparently very crisp.

It may have been taken out of context, but new Astros GM Jeff Luhnow said the Rangers were spending like “drunken sailors” in Latin America. I’m finding it really hard to find a flaw with this man.

Finally, if you’ve missed it, I’ve been writing team-by-team previews. Here are the first ten (AL East and Central): OriLOLes, Red Sox, Yankees, Rays, Blue Jays, White Sox, Clevelands, Tigers, Royals, and Twins.