John Mayberry no doubt had hopes of following up a poor season at Triple-A with a great showing in the Arizona Fall League, but instead the Phillies prospect has been sent home with a leg injury after appearing in just one game.
Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports that Mayberry was examined by doctors in Florida and is expected to be healthy in time for spring training, but the former first-round pick already seems like a long shot to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Jayson Werth leaving as a free agent would leave a big hole in the Phillies’ outfield, but top prospect Domonic Brown is expected to replace him in right field after getting his feet wet in the majors down the stretch this season.
Brown hit .327/.391/.589 in the minors this season, including .346/.390/.561 in 28 games at Triple-A as a 22-year-old, while Mayberry hit .267/.328/.412 in 128 games on that same Triple-A team as a 26-year-old.
Marc Carig of The Athletic reports that the Mets have interviewed Dave Littlefield to fill the club’s GM vacancy. The position hasn’t exactly been a popular one for potential candidates, with many preemptively taking their name out of consideration.
Littlefield, 58, was the Pirates’ GM between 2001-07. It didn’t exactly go well. The club never won more than 75 games during his tenure. Littlefield was also infamous for the 2003 Rule 5 draft in which he carelessly left several valuable players unprotected, including Chris Shelton and José Bautista. Littlefield was also criticized for trades he made (e.g. Aramis Ramírez) and for trades he didn’t make (e.g. Kris Benson for Ryan Howard).
In the time since, Littlefield worked as a scout for the Cubs, then for the Tigers. Since 2015, he has worked as the vice president of player development for the Tigers. Littlefield’s successor, Neal Huntington, went on to have more success which didn’t help Littlefield’s cause any. Huntington was also comparatively much more open to analytics.
The Mets’ interest in Littlefield isn’t surprising. There are plenty of up-and-coming GM candidates — like Ben Cherington — the Mets could target, but Fred Wilpon (pictured above) want that. They want someone malleable who will adhere to payroll constrictions. Mets ownership’s involvement is an issue for the younger, analytics-oriented executives, Matt Ehalt of The Record reported earlier this month. Ehalt wrote, “There are rumblings that several candidates with progressive, analytics-oriented approaches do not believe they will be able to operate as they please should they take the Mets job, according to a source. That hesitation played a factor in why former Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington bowed out of the mix, per the source.”
You have to feel bad for Mets fans, who seem relegated to having to root for a middling ballclub once again. And you have to feel bad for the likes of Brandon Nimmo, Jacob deGrom, and Noah Syndergaard, who will once again have to perform for a team that doesn’t have competing as its chief priority.