SAN DIEGO -- In a move to bolster their offense and defense, the Padres reeled in a big fish on Saturday, trading for Marlins outfielder Cameron Maybin, a former top prospect and first-round Draft pick. The Marlins, who were seeking bullpen help, received two right-handed relievers, Ryan Webb and Edward Mujica, in the trade. "We traded two good relievers from our bullpen. But we feel like we have some bullpen depth," Padres general manager Jed Hoyer said. "We have a number of holes we need to fill. We feel like we filled one of them.
"Any time you have a chance to fill a hole up the middle, you take that chance." In parts of four seasons with the Tigers and Marlins, Maybin hit .246 with 13 home runs and 45 RBIs in 548 at-bats, roughly the equivalent of a full Major League season for an everyday player. Maybin fits the mold of the kind of player Hoyer, in his second year as GM, and his staff covets: young, athletic and a player who can play defense, especially in a big ballpark as PETCO Park is. "That was a huge part of the appeal," Hoyer said. "He does fit the ballpark so well." One of the Padres' biggest areas of need this offseason was finding an everyday center fielder, preferably someone who could hit at or near the top of the order and eventually be a tablesetter of sorts for three-time All-Star Adrian Gonzalez and projected No. 4 hitter Ryan Ludwick. Last season, the Padres ranked 30th in the Major Leagues in batting average out of the leadoff spot (.237) and 28th in on-base percentage (.306). Is Maybin ready to be that kind of player? He'll certainly get a chance to play every day, Hoyer said. He'll start in center field -- Maybin is out of Minor League options -- with Ludwick in left field and Will Venable in right field. "We want him to come in here and feel secure he's going to play center field for us," Hoyer said. "I'm confident of where he's going to play in the field. He has the skill set, he has power and can steal bases. "His career path was unusual. He was up in the big leagues at 20, part of a major trade. I think he's a guy who didn't have a normal path. We think letting him play every day here will help him realize his potential." Maybin struck out 92 times last season and had trouble with offspeed pitches. He hit .215 and had a .293 on-base percentage out of the leadoff spot in 135 at-bats for the Marlins. During his time in the Major Leagues, Maybin has had difficulty with pitch recognition. According to Fangraphs, Maybin made contact with 82.1 percent of pitches inside the strike zone. The league average in 2010 was 88.1 percent. Maybin, who turns 24 on April 4, was selected by the Tigers with the 10th pick in the 2005 Draft. He made his Major League debut with the Tigers in '07 but was traded that December to the Marlins in an eight-player deal that sent Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera to Detroit. Maybin then spent most of the next two seasons in the Minor Leagues before getting 291 at-bats in 2010 with the Marlins. The outfielder began the season with Florida but was sent to Triple-A New Orleans in June, where he hit .340 with a .415 on-base percentage. Maybin returned to the Marlins in August and hit .248 in 31 games until suffering a left leg injury and lower back strain in the last week of the season after running into the outfield wall attempting to make a catch. The move comes on the heels of the Marlins' trade of pitcher Andrew Miller (acquired in the Maybin deal) to Boston -- meaning Florida has essentially moved on from the Willis/Cabrera trade. The Marlins will give left-handed-hitting Scott Cousins and Chris Coghlan a strong look in center field in Spring Training. Webb was 3-1 with a 2.90 ERA in 59 frames for the Padres and earned important innings late in the season. San Diego pitching coach Darren Balsley said last week that Webb could eventually become a closer. Mujica was 2-1 with a 3.62 ERA in 59 games. He allowed 14 home runs in 69 2/3 innings, the most of any Padres reliever. In making the trade the Padres did not have to break up the back end of their bullpen, setup men Mike Adams, Luke Gregerson or two-time All-Star closer Heath Bell. "The bullpen was our strength last year. They contributed to that," Hoyer said of Webb and Mujica. "Bullpens are volatile from year to year. We're confident we'll have a good bullpen. We didn't mess with the back of it. Now we have to fill in and find some relievers to replace these guys." Mujica and Webb are big league seasoned, so dealing Maybin for them is another step toward the Marlins' addressing their bullpen. On Friday, the Marlins dealt Miller to the Red Sox for lefty Dustin Richardson, who pitched in 26 games for Boston last season.