Mayberry had signed a minor league pact with the Sox back on Aug. 7, though his stay with the team’s Triple-A affiliate lasted just 13 games. In those 13 games, the 31-year-old was unable to correct the struggles he displayed earlier this season with the Mets, batting .162/.225/.189 in 40 plate appearances. Typically a potent weapon against left-handed pitching, Mayberry has slashed a combined .175/.246/.381 in 69 plate appearances versus southpaws in the Majors and minors. Throughout his big-league career, Mayberry has hit .260/.315/.517 against lefties.
Free agent outfielder John Mayberry Jr. has signed a minor league deal with the White Sox, according to a tweet from the club’s Triple-A affiliate in Charlotte. Mayberry, a client of CAA Sports, was released by the Mets following the team’s acquisition of Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe.
Signed by New York to a one-year contract this winter, Mayberry struggled to a .164/.227/.318 batting line with three homers in 119 plate appearances with the Mets. Those numbers represent a stark decline from the roughly league-average (.241/.305/.429) batting line that Mayberry carried into the 2015 season.
Hitting lefties has always been the right-handed Mayberry’s calling card — career .260/.315/.517/ — but even that skill seemed to elude him during his time in Queens. Mayberry’s numbers against lefties in 2015 were better than his numbers against righties, but he still mustered just a .628 OPS.
The White Sox abruptly changed course heading into the deadline and elected not to sell off any veteran pieces, instead pursuing outfield bats such as Yoenis Cespedes and Justin Upton. While Mayberry quite clearly isn’t an addition of that magnitude, he does offer the Sox a veteran depth piece who could come up and help in the corner outfield versus lefties if he can get back to his old form with the Knights in Triple-A. Both Melky Cabrera and Adam Eaton have hit poorly against southpaws this season, and the team doesn’t have much in the way of Major League outfield depth beyond its starting trio (which also includes Avisail Garcia). Trayce Thompson and Leury Garcia are currently the team’s reserve options in the outfield, but Garcia has been an infielder throughout his entire pro career, and Thompson has just one Major League plate appearance.
The Mets have designated outfielder John Mayberry Jr. for assignment, Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com reports on Twitter. New York needed his roster spot as part of the just-announced acquisition of Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson.
Mayberry, 31, joined the club over the winter on a one-year, $1.45MM deal. The idea, it seemed, was for his right-handed bat to spell lefties Curtis Granderson in right and Lucas Duda at first. But Mayberry has produced disappointing results thus far, compiling a sub-par .165/.229/.321 slash over 118 plate appearances.
While Mayberry’s struggles made him vulnerable, the move still comes as something of a surprise. The call-up of Michael Conforto adds another outfield bat, as does the acquisition of Johnson, but both hit from the left side. Mayberry had seemed a good bet to see a good deal of time while Michael Cuddyer works back from the DL.
It’s tempting to wonder whether moving on from Mayberry is the precursor to an addition of another right-handed-hitting outfield bat. The club has been connected to various corner outfielders, and there are a number of high-quality options (both rental and controllable) that could be had over the next week. And having added Uribe to the infield and Johnson in a potential utility role, New York may have completed most of its other shopping without giving up any of its best-regarded young talent.
DEC. 15: The Mets have officially announced the signing. Marc Carig of Newsday reports (via Twitter)that Mayberry’s deal calls for an additional $500K of incentives based on plate appearances and awards bonuses.
DEC. 11: The Mets have agreed to a major league contract with outfielder John Mayberry Jr., Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com reports on Twitter. Mayberry gets a $1.45MM deal, Joel Sherman of the New York Post tweets.
Mayberry, who turns 31 later this month, was non-tendered by the Blue Jays on December 2nd. The former No. 19 overall pick in the 2005 draft slashed .212/.310/.425 in 2014 with the Phillies and Blue Jays which is more or less in line with his career work.
The Mets have completed their coaching staff, naming Pat Roessler as the assistant hitting coach, writes Anthony DiComo of MLB.com. For the last 11 years, Roessler served as the Yankees director of player development. Readers may recall the Mets hired another former Yankees staffer – Kevin Long – as their hitting coach earlier in the offseason.
- John Mayberry and Kyle Blanks are on the Mets radar, tweets Marc Carig of Newsday. Everth Cabrera is another non-tender who could make sense, although Carig notes that’s his speculation. No deals are close. Carig further clarified that all right-handed outfield options likely remain on the table.
- One right-handed bat who isn’t on the radar is Jonny Gomes, reports Matthew Cerrone of MetsBlog. Cerrone bets that GM Sandy Alderson would have to move payroll to make room for Gomes. Given his limited utility as a lefty-masher, the Mets are probably better suited targeting a recent non-tender like Mayberry or Blanks.
Each player had been obtained within the last three months or so at minimum cost to Toronto. It would appear that the club was keeping them on hand to create some options, but that it has decided to go in another direction.
As Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca explains, the move certainly sets the table for more action out of Toronto, which now has only three outfielders on its 40-man roster. And that is before addressing the team’s needs in the pen and at second.
The trio will deliver some cost savings back to the Jays, of course. Mayberry ($1.9MM), Smoak ($3MM), and Dirks ($1.6MM) combined for a projected tab of about $6.5MM. That should be enough space for one or two good to very good relief arms, and moving Dioner Navarro‘s salary might create yet more breathing room.
Mayberry, 30, has hit .213/.304/418 on the season, good for a 104 wRC+ (roughly league average). He’s best used as a lefty masher, as evidenced by his .255/.339/.582 line against southpaws this season. The Blue Jays are currently the 24th ranked team against lefties per wRC+, so the acquisition of Mayberry should help reinforce the July trade for Danny Valencia. Mayberry is owed about $250K of his $1.59MM salary for the remainder of the season. He’s currently on the disabled list, but he can help Toronto beyond the 2014 season if they wish, as he is controlled through 2016 via arbitration.
Pierre, a 22-year-old utility infielder, has hit .260/.281/.389 on the season while spending most of the year at High-A Dunedin. He’s not ranked by Baseball America or any similar organization.
There’s been quite a bit of chatter regarding Jeff Samardzija and the rest of the Cubs’ pitchers over the past few days, due largely to the fact that everyone is aware the Cubs will be sellers at this summer’s non-waiver trade deadline. For other clubs, the trade picture isn’t so clear. Here are some notes on players that are potential trade targets and on which clubs should buy and which should sell…
- Phillies president David Montgomery tells Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer that the club can’t be stubborn and close itself off from trading certain players if it’s the best thing for the team — and that includes longtime cornerstones Chase Utley and Jimmy Rollins. Referring to Utley, Montgomery noted that he’d like his second baseman to remain with the club beyond his playing days. Of course, both players have 10-and-5 rights and can veto any trade.
- For his part, Rollins softened his stance on waiving his no-trade rights after surpassing Mike Schmidt for the franchise hits lead this weekend, Gelb notes. Said Rollins: “It really depends if everything is blown up. Then, you take that into consideration. Fortunately, I don’t have to worry about that right now. But if that time does come, and it’s time to go … people move on.”
- Jim Salisbury of CSNPhilly.com reports that the Red Sox and Yankees have some interest in John Mayberry Jr. as outfield depth. Boston has scouted several recent Phillies games, and one “plugged-in Major League source” tells Salisbury that the Yankees are a team to watch in regards to Mayberry as well.
- In an ESPN Insider piece, Dan Szymborski opines that the Royals need to make a bold acquisition in an attempt to take the AL Central. Szymborski’s ZiPS projection system has the Royals as a 50-50 chance to make the playoffs and a 29 percent chance to win the division right now. With five regular position players ranking at or below replacement level (per Baseball-Reference), the team needs to make a splash, as the Tigers are far more vulnerable than most expected. He suggests that third base and right field are the two most viable spots, listing Aaron Hill, Ben Zobrist and Chase Headley as possible targets.
- Yankees GM Brian Cashman expects to make a trade or multiple trades this July, writes Barry M. Bloom of MLB.com. “I feel that we need to get better from within, and I think I can speed up the process if I run into something outside at the same time,” said Cashman. “We usually make moves every year, so I expect to make moves again.” Bloom runs down a list of trade targets and notes that the stock of Dellin Betances has skyrocketed this season, though he wonders if Cashman would be willing to include a potential future closer for a short-term fix. Cashman said he didn’t want to wait to make a move but added that prices are often highest early on in trade season.
- Though Joel Sherman of the New York Post said not long ago that the Mets should act boldly as buyers, the team’s recent woes have him convinced that the opposite may now be true. After a 4-11 skid, he writes that the Mets should deal two of Jon Niese, Bartolo Colon and Dillon Gee this summer and also make Daniel Murphy available in trades. Doing so will bring back valuable offensive prospects and position the Mets well for a high draft pick in 2015. He notes that Sandy Alderson’s regime has done well in trades, bringing in Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud, Vic Black and Dilson Herrera by trading veteran pieces.
First basemen who “are available” to be traded include the Yankees’ Kelly Johnson, the Phillies’ John Mayberry Jr., the Nationals’ Tyler Moore and the Pirates’ Gaby Sanchez, sources tell Gerry Fraley of the Dallas Morning News. Johnson and Sanchez are new additions to the rumor mill, while Mayberry and Moore have both been recently cited as possible trade chips.
The quartet is cited in the context of Mitch Moreland‘s season-ending ankle surgery, leaving the Rangers dealing with yet another major injury. Despite losing a host of notable players to the DL, Texas is still just 2.5 games behind Seattle for the last AL wild card slot, and could still be looking to make additions down the stretch. Texas had previously had exploratory talks with the Nationals about Moore, though MLB.com’s Bill Ladson noted those talks weren’t serious.
Johnson has played 23 games at first for the Yankees this season, though he has spent the large majority of his career as a second baseman (plus some time at third and in left field). Despite Yangervis Solarte‘s emergence, the Yankees’ infield depth is still thin, so it would be somewhat surprising to see New York move a versatile player like Johnson elsewhere. Johnson is still owed roughly $1.845MM from the one-year, $3MM deal he signed with the Yankees last winter.
Sanchez was the subject of some trade rumors last year, though he remained with the Bucs as the right-handed hitting half of a first base platoon. While he has a solid .255/.303/.510 slash line with five homers in 109 PA this year, Sanchez has made almost twice as many plate appearances against righties as he has against lefties since the Pirates have faced an unusually large amount of right-handed starters; Pittsburgh hitters as a whole have made only 366 PA against lefties in 2014, by far the lowest in the majors. Sanchez has a career .903 OPS against southpaws against just a .700 OPS against righties, so he could certainly provide a contender with a useful part-time or bench bat.
Rangers first basemen have combined for -0.9 fWAR this season, and five other teams (the Twins, Astros, Indians, Royals and Mariners) have also received sub-replacement level production from their first basemen.
In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe ran down the 20 best stories in baseball, starting with the worst-to-first (so far) Blue Jays. Toronto has gotten great hitting out of Jose Bautista, Melky Cabrera, Edwin Encarnacion, and Adam Lind and great pitching from Mark Buehrle, R.A. Dickey, and Drew Hutchison. Now, it remains to be seen whether the Blue Jays will be willing to part with Hutchison in a deal for Cubs‘ ace Jeff Samardzija. More from today’s column..
- The Red Sox and Rangers have the most to offer the Cubs for Samardzija, followed by the Giants. Of course, Cubs president Theo Epstein is quite familiar with the Red Sox’s farm system. The Cubs need pitching, but Boston will definitely not part with lefthander Henry Owens. If that’s not a deal breaker, the Sox have other pitchers like Brandon Workman, Matt Barnes, Anthony Ranaudo, Allen Webster, and Rubby De La Rosa that they can offer. Cafardo guesses that it would take two of them, plus perhaps a catcher, to pry Samardzija loose.
- With the Diamondbacks likely out of the race by the deadline, Cafardo says that we should look for veteran Bronson Arroyo to change uniforms again. Arroyo isn’t a shutdown guy, but he’s an experienced starter who could solidify the back of a rotation, particularly for an NL team.
- The Phillies have made John Mayberry Jr. available and Cafardo writes that the Red Sox could be interested. The Phillies have been scouting the Sox for a third straight series and are looking at Boston as a possible trade partner.