The Detroit Tigers have signed outfielder John Mayberry Jr. to a minor league contract, according to Jeff Passan.
While many Detroit Tigers fans continue to hold out hope of the team adding another big-name player (either through trade or free agency), the team is seemingly preparing to carry on with a more ‘status quo’ approach.
According to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, the Detroit Tigers have signed John Mayberry Jr. to a minor league contract.
The 32 year old has spent the last six seasons in the major leagues, most recently with the New York Mets but most prominently with the Philadelphia Phillies.
As Passan notes, the Tigers have several outfield options for next season, but there are few certainties in the mix aside from J.D. Martinez. If the Tigers aren’t to sign a full-time left fielder, they’d be best off giving themselves options to platoon the position based on opposing pitcher handedness.
Anthony Gose, Tyler Collins, and Steven Moya all hit left-handed, so a right handed option isn’t bad to have on hand. This is where the Ryan Raburn chatter came into play earlier this week. Mike Aviles is also an option to play some outfield, but he’s spent most of his career on the infield dirt.
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Mayberry has displayed a large platoon split in his career (an .833 OPS versus left-handed pitchers), so he figures to receive a shot to make the team out of spring training (depending on how many outfielders the team is willing to carry). If he hits well, he could platoon in left field with Collins while Maybin and Gose platoon in center field.
That plan would require carrying five outfielders which would likely mean carrying only one reserve infielder. That’s certainly doable, but managers usually like to have the second infielder in case of defensive replacement and injury.
But if Mayberry doesn’t crack the roster it’s no harm, no foul. Minor league signings are essentially costless so the Detroit Tigers have given themselves extra outfield depth with no downside risk.