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Tigers snag 'high energy' utility infielder Zack Short from Cubs for Cameron Maybin

Chris McCosky
The Detroit News

Detroit — Cameron Maybin’s third stint with the Tigers ends just like his first two — by being traded away.

The Tigers traded Maybin, 33, to the Cubs, just ahead of the 4 p.m. Monday trade deadline, for minor-league utility infielder Zack Short. Short is expected to fly to Detroit Tuesday and go through the COVID-19 testing and two-day quarantine. 

He will then report to the club's alternate site in Toledo.

Zack Short

"We like him a lot from a make-up perspective," general manager Al Avila said of the 25-year-old Short, who ascended to Triple-A with the Cubs last season. "He's one of those guys managers love to have. He's high-energy, kind of a baseball rat, plays hard.

"He's a very good shortstop, from our reports. Basically, he's ready right now from a defensive perspective. He's got some pop in his bat. And he has (minor league) options, which is really good."

Short, a 17th round pick in 2016, has hit .241 with .377 on-base percentage in four minor-league seasons. His Triple-A season was derailed by a broken hand six games in. Still, he was the No. 21-ranked prospect and the Cubs put him on their 40-man roster, though he was not invited to participate at their alternative site.

"It was a gut-punch when they told me I wasn't going to be there," Short said. "They told me it was a numbers thing ...They told me they wanted it to be kind of revolving door for pitchers. I just tried to stay ready."

He could see the writing on the wall, though. With all-star players at first, short and third, he wasn't much in the Cubs plans. 

"They have a really good situation there," Short said. "Lot of superstar player. When they added me to the 40-man roster coming off an injury, that was kind of a vote of confidence. Obviously, the year didn't go as planned.

"So this is kind of like getting out of jail in that sense. Kind of freeing, new opportunity. But obviously I am very thankful for what the Cubs have done for me, and it's great to start with a new group." 

Avila said there was interest in several other players over the last week, but nothing else ever got close to a deal.  

Cameron Maybin

"We were always open to helping the team not only for now but for next year and the year after," Avila said. "What we're trying to do is keep a winning culture and have a winning team now. And if we could make one or two trades that in our opinion would make us better, not just for now, but for next year, that trade would've been made.

"We just didn't feel that trade was there."

He didn't mention names, but players that had been rumored to have drawn interest included Daniel Norris, Jonathan Schoop, Matthew Boyd and Austin Romine.

"We talked to all 30 teams over a period of time," Avila said. "But the conversations got less and less as we got closer to the deadline. So there was interest, teams inquired and we did explore some things. 

"But nothing else came to fruition."

Maybin hadn’t really got on track with the Tigers this time around. He battled a quad injury and hit .244 in 14 games. He was, though, an important presence in the clubhouse, instrumental in keeping the club together during the nine-game losing streak.

He joined Miguel Cabrera and Austin Romine in convening a players only meeting in Chicago after the team lost its eighth straight game. 

Maybin was previously traded before the 2008 season in the Miguel Cabrera deal. He was traded again in 2016 for Victor Alcantara.

Avila wouldn't say how the Tigers will initially fill Maybin's spot on the active roster. It doesn't necessarily have to be with an outfielder. The Tigers are looking to give Willi Castro some playing time in the outfield. 

Twitter @cmccosky