The White Sox recently agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Mark Payton, according to his transactions log at MLB.com. He made his first Spring Training appearance with the Sox yesterday.
A Chicago-area native, Payton was selected by the Yankees out of the University of Texas in the 2014 draft. He spent five years in the New York organization before landing with the A’s in the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft. After a very strong Triple-A campaign with Oakland in 2019, the Reds selected Payton in the big league phase of the Rule 5 draft the following winter. He didn’t stick with the MLB club and was returned to Oakland, but the A’s traded him back to Cincinnati for cash not long after.
Payton eventually got a big league call from the Reds late in the 2020 season. He played in eight games and logged action in 24 contests last year before being designated for assignment in July. Cincinnati traded him to the Mets, and he spent the rest of the season with New York’s Triple-A affiliate. Despite putting up an impressive .305/.385/.477 line with Syracuse, Payton was never recalled to the majors and non-tendered after the season.
The 30-year-old only has 44 big league plate appearances under his belt. He’s a career .297/.371/.505 hitter in more than 1300 Triple-A plate appearances. He’s only played the corner outfield in the majors but has a fair bit of experience at all three outfield spots in the minors. Payton adds some left-handed hitting depth to the high levels in the Chicago system.