Phillies' decision on Mayberry due today

Posted: December 03, 2013

THE JOHN MAYBERRY Jr. era could come to an end for Phillies fans today.

Today marks the deadline for major league teams to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players. Teams must make their decisions prior to midnight.

The Phillies have five such players: Mayberry, fellow outfielder Ben Revere, pitchers Kyle Kendrick and Antonio Bastardo and infielder Kevin Frandsen.

Any player not tendered a contract automatically becomes a free agent. Last winter, the Phillies non-tendered outfielder Nate Schierholtz, who went on to have a career year with the Chicago Cubs.

Mayberry, who turns 30 on Dec. 21, would seemingly be a candidate to be non-tendered this winter as his production and value on the field isn't likely to match the amount of money he would get through arbitration. A first-time arbitration-eligible player, Mayberry is likely to earn somewhere in the neighborhood north of $1.5 million.

But the Phillies' grossly thin depth in centerfield could force them into tendering Mayberry before tonight's deadline.

After Revere, last year's Opening Day centerfielder, the Phillies have three players on their 40-man roster who have played centerfield in the big leagues. Cesar Hernandez, an infielder, was unimpressive in his centerfield tryout last summer and Marlon Byrd, the projected starting rightfielder who turns 37 next August, is no longer an ideal candidate to patrol the middle of the outfield.

Despite his unimpressive numbers in the last 2 years (.237/.294/.393), Mayberry's ability to play centerfield might be needed again in 2014, unless general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. adds another outfielder in the next 2 1/2 months, which is very possible.

When asked about his tender plans at the general managers meetings in Orlando last month, Amaro said he planned to tender Mayberry.

"He's not an issue for me," Amaro said. "I would assume [we'll tender him]. We haven't made any final decisions. But I'd view him as a tender."

At some point today, we should find out if Amaro's actions will follow his words.

Amaro also said he planned to tender both Kendrick and Bastardo. Given the Phillies' lack of depth in the rotation and experience in the bullpen, bringing both back would seem like no-brainers.

Ditto Revere, a first-year arbitration-eligible player who figures to see regular playing time again in 2014. Revere missed the final 2 1/2 months of last season recovering from a broken foot.

Frandsen's future with the Phillies is less certain.

Frandsen, a 31-year-old infielder capable of backing up third and second base, has made himself a useful role player in the last 2 years. He also has had some success as a pinch-hitter, particularly in the first half of 2013.

But the righthanded-hitting reserve also could be replaced by cheaper options in Hernandez and Freddy Galvis, two younger players with superior defensive skills.

Frandsen, who made $850,000 last year, is in line to earn a salary north of $1 million through arbitration.

On Twitter: @ryanlawrence21


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