Everyone remembers John Mayberry's 2011 season, where it looked like the then 27 year old had finally "put it together" down the stretch, posting an impressive .273/.341/.513 line with 15 home runs in just 296 plate appearances. Almost as importantly, his strikeout rate had plummeted (from 30.8% in 2010 to just 18.6% in 2011). Team officials and fans seemed to be penciling Mayberry in for significant time in left field while Domonic Brown got additional seasoning in the Minors.
Then came Spring Training 2012, where Mayberry struggled badly and comments from Charlie Manuel began to make it look like the bloom had come off the Mayberry rose. It didn't help Mayberry's case that the team had Juan Pierre -- Major League Baseball's outfield security blanket -- playing well in Clearwater and impressing team officials with his work ethic and attitude. And so it was that the team started April with a de facto platoon and, as Pierre's batting average climbed and stayed well above .300, and Mayberry continued to struggle badly, that Pierre got more and more playing time.
Because the rest of the team stunk too, Mayberry found himself getting more playing time thanks to the July 31st trade of center fielder Shane Victorino to the Los Angeles Dodgers. As the only Phillies player who had proved himself capable of playing the position without embarrassing himself defensively, Mayberry got the large majority of the starts in center field in the season's final two months. He acquitted himself fairly well defensively, and had a very good month of August at the plate (.290/.343/.495 with five homers), but a poor September/October (.634 OPS), leaving the team with virtually no choice but to find an option for center field outside the organization for 2013.
His deep platoon split (.811 OPS vs. left handers, .626 vs. righties) and adequate defense at all three outfield positions makes him a decent fourth outfielder/bench bat, but at age 29 in 2013, the time for hoping that Mayberry finally puts his significant physical and intellectual gifts together to become an above-average Major League Baseball player appear to have gone completely. Importantly, the Phillies appear to have realized this as well.
And now, the Exit Interview!
1. How did you let your teammates down this season?
I failed to hold onto the offensive gains I made last season, including against right-handed pitching. But I stepped up and did an adequate job patrolling center field after Shane got traded. Mr. Amaro says Stanford men take instruction well.
2. How did you let your manager and GM down this season?
Skip got frustrated this spring, and so did I. Mr. Amaro doesn't like to watch fellow Cardinal fail. I think he took it personally. I keep getting chances, though, so they must see something.
3. What do you have to say to all the fans you let down this season?
I hope you like my future analyst career on Xfinity Post-Game Live around about 2018.
4. On a scale of 1-10 with 10 being the worst, how do you rate on the "it's my fault we're in this freaking mess and missed the playoffs scale"
If we're being honest here, I'd say around a "5." Sure, I didn't play so hot, but what am I supposed to do? Refuse playing time? Sometimes I feel really badly for Dom, though.
5. Other than yourself, which player caused this fiasco of a season the most?
I'm not naming names, but let's just say I spent a lot of time on the bench this year with some guys who seemed a little less than "competent."