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Could Mayberry’s Days as a Phillie Be Numbered?

The big news from Spring Training today came from comments made by manager Ryne Sandberg. Sandberg’s comments were in reference to where he sees a number of players on the 2014 roster. There were some surprises, Darin Ruf will see equal time at first base and left field, some news was not as surprising, Jesse Biddle will likely start the year in Triple-A Lehigh Valley, and then there was Sandberg’s comments that Marlon Byrd, Domonic Brown, and Cesar Hernandez would be options to back up Ben Revere in center fielder. Conspicuous by his absence in these discussions? John Mayberry Jr.

Mayberry, 30, hit a career-worst .227/.286/.391 with 11 HR in 384 PA and saw his generally previously-positive platoon splits (.306/.358/.595 in 120 PA in 2011 against lefties) drop precipitously (.240/.296/.460 in 108 PA in 2013 against lefties). With Sandberg mentioning seemingly everyone but Mayberry, was this just an accidental omission or could Mayberry’s days as a Phillie be numbered?

There is one particular factor working against this theory: Mayberry signed a guaranteed contract, which is somewhat odd for an arbitration-eligible player. Out of options, Matt Gelb speculates that the guarantee could have helped keep Mayberry’s arbitration number down. If Mayberry, like countless other arbitration-eligible players, had a non-guaranteed deal, he could have been released during Spring Training for somewhere between 1/6 and 1/4 the value of his contract. The Phillies would now be on the hook for his entire contract should they waive him during Spring Training.

Other notes from today:

– RHP Mike Adams plans to be back in early-to-mid April but not in time for Opening Day. LHP Cole Hamels plans to be back in mid-April. Both will throw bullpen sessions next week, Adams on February 27, Hamels on February 25.

– RHP Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez showed “rust” according to Phillies pitching coach Bob McClure but also reported that Gonzalez was able to keep the ball down in the zone and use his change-up effectively

– Gonzalez and Biddle threw to live hitters today

(Sources: Chris Branch, News JournalTodd Zolecki, MLB.com)

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