This came down the wire last night, but it seems worth taking a look at a day later: the Jays made a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies, picking up John Mayberry Jr. in exchange for minor league outfielder Gustavo Pierre.
Not really sure what the Phillies are thinking here, which seems par for the course, seeing as, y’know, they’re the Phillies.
Pierre (pronounced, I’ve been led by a Dunedin Jays broadcast to believe, Pee-er-aye) is a third baseman who will turn 23 in December and was promoted to Double-A New Hampshire for the first time at the end of this season. He’s been in the organization so long that, as an 18-year-old in 2010, he played for Auburn, but he spent big chunks of three seasons at Lansing, and the last year-and-a-half at Dunedin. Part of that is because he struggles so much at the plate. In 2013 he walked just four times in 439 plate appearances — improving to 13 walks this season, in 437 PA! — and the highest OBP he’s produced in five stints at three levels since the beginning of 2012 is .302. This year at Dunedin he slashed a depressing .263/.285/.390.
That doesn’t mean that he’s entirely worthless, though. Phillies blog Crashburn Alley, in their write-up on the deal, notes that Zach Mortimer of Baseball Prospectus wrote last year that Pierre has “a plus-plus arm but was forced to move off of shortstop because of inadequate defensive actions,” and that he “offers good bat speed and average power potential, but he may never realize his talent because of a deficiency in plate discipline.”
He could get better, in other words, but it’s a long shot. And giving him up for a potentially useful piece in Mayberry? That works.
It does, apparently, for Philadelphia, too, as Crashburn Alley explains that “the Phillies likely would have non-tendered Mayberry in the off-season rather than go into a second year of arbitration with him, so getting something is better than getting nothing.”
Mayberry, who is currently injured, makes $1.5875-million this season, and will get a bit of a raise next year, but will still command less than the $5-million per year the Tigers are paying Rajai Davis, whose role Mayberry will essentially take over — minus the stolen bases. He’s certainly a useful piece, though, for a Jays club still (somehow) searching for a proper platoon partner for Adam Lind, posting a 155 wRC+ against left-handed pitching this season, and sporting a 130 mark for his career in the split across 475 plate appearances. He can play all three outfield positions, though he’s not above average at any, but — at least according to the advanced metrics — he’s passable enough to make him potential competition for Kevin Pillar next spring, one supposes. That is, if Pillar is even around still — Mayberry’s presence on the roster certainly makes a sell-high move involving Pillar a possibility.
So… another platoon guy. But one that makes a little bit more sense, at least, than a Nolan Reimold — who was claimed by the Diamondbacks late last week — in that he actually has a pronounced platoon split. So… certainly more useful to the Jays than to
Hey, and Dan Norris is up!