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.