When the Phillies acquired outfielder John Mayberry Jr. for outfielder Greg Golson, not too many people really batted an eye. It was a swap of minor league outfielders and the Phillies had basically just swapped an outfielder with speed for an outfielder with power, but neither had been proven at the major league level and both figured on needing more work before they would help their respective clubs.
Now, almost four months later, the deal looks to have been good for both organizations.
The Phillies got a power-hitting outfielder that could potentially either be added to their lineup before too long or provide power off the bench in the very near future. In John Mayberry Jr., the Phillies have a right-handed power bat that will need to fight to find his way into the lineup, but with what he has shown this spring, it's going to eventually be tough for the Phillies to ignore him. Since the very early days of spring training, Mayberry has provided excitement as part of the Phillies lineup and still has an outside chance of earning at least a temporary job with the big league club to start the season.
For that to happen, Mayberry is going to need a few things to break out just right. First, the Phillies would likely have to decide to carry just 11 pitchers to start the season, which is conceivable, since they really wouldn't need a fifth starter for the first two weeks of the season. Then, the Phillies would have to pick Mayberry over a veteran like Marcus Giles. They would also likely have to have not traded either Geoff Jenkins or Matt Stairs, prompting the need for another right-handed bat to bring off the bench and they would have also had to decide not to keep three catchers, which is also a possibility.
Whatever happens with Mayberry, he's provided a lot of excitement this spring and has Phillies fans believing that Ruben Amaro Jr.'s first-ever trade was a pretty good one.
"His performance right now reminds me of his start with Oklahoma City last year, when he began his Triple-A career going 17-for-36 (.472) with all kinds of power," says Jason Cole of LoneStarDugout.com. "Once the league saw him a couple of times, he slowed down a bit and was forced to make adjustments. I am interested to see whether he will be able to make those adjustments as a member of the Phillies organization."
|Greg Golson has made as good of an impression on Rangers fans as John Mayberry Jr. has on Phillies fans this spring.|
(Photo: Scott Lucas/Newberg Report)
Cole believes that Mayberry is going to be a solid major league player once he gets over his inconsistent offensive approach. In the Rangers organization, Mayberry had up and down times, sliding between being an offensive machine and being a player who could make himself look a little rough at the plate. Over time though, Cole saw improvements in Mayberry. "He's able to catch up and get around on inside fastballs more often now, and he's making more consistent contact (and striking out less)," said Cole.
"He has the raw talent to be a Jermaine Dye-type player, but I also don't think he'll reach that ceiling." believes Cole.
While Phillies fans have been impressed with Mayberry, Rangers fans are pretty psyched about Greg Golson, the player that they received in the deal. After all, all Golson has done is hit .348 (8-for-23) in 14 games with the Rangers big league squad in the Cactus League. While the Rangers have been impressed with Golson, they realize that he's going to need more time in the minors and they reassigned him to their minor league camp to play with the Triple-A squad, but Cole has heard good things about Golson and the impression that he made on the Rangers brass.
With Shane Victorino patrolling center field and Jayson Werth also in the Phillies outfield, Amaro felt that having a speed-type player like Golson wasn't going to pay off for the club. So, knowing that the organization is weak on power-hitters, especially at the higher levels, Amaro was comfortable enough to make the deal.
While both players are likely going to start the season in Triple-A, both are also well on the radar for their respective clubs. Both could see time with the major league club this season and both could find themselves being in the long-term plans for their clubs.
With all things considered, this was a deal that worked very well for both sides. Exactly the kind of deal that baseball could use more of.