Jack Mayfield was never supposed to play consistently for the Los Angeles Angels. In fact, the 30-year old journeyman was waived by the Halos, claimed by the Seattle Mariners, only to be waived once again and claimed by L.A.
With Anthony Rendon, Jose Iglesias, and David Fletcher manning the three positions he is best at, there was simply no room for him to play every day, if at all. Then, Rendon suffered his hip impingement, opening up some time for Mayfield to split third base with Phil Gosselin.
Later, injuries to Jared Walsh and in the outfield allowed Gosselin to show off his utility, making Mayfield an every day third baseman. Then, while playing at shortstop on Monday night against the New York Yankees, Mayfield showed why he stuck around this season.
Mayfield blasted a fourth-inning grand slam off the first pitch he saw from Corey Kluber to give the Angels a 5-2 lead in a game they would ultimately win 8-7. He discussed the emotions he felt from his first career slam, according to Jeff Fletcher of The O.C. Register:
“It was amazing,” Mayfield said of the fourth-inning grand slam against Corey Kluber. “I blacked out a little bit. I don’t remember running the bases. It’s definitely one of the most exciting moments of my career.”
Of course, Mayfield playing at shortstop comes at the expense of Iglesias, who has already proven himself to be a magician at that position. Joe Maddon explained why Mayfield has played over Iglesias in three of the last four games.
“He’s done good work,” Maddon said. “Let’s give him an opportunity. I’m not saying anything is etched in stone by any means for next year, but I want to see him at shortstop a little bit too.”
It’s too early to draw conclusions for next season, but this is exactly how the Angels should approach the last month of the season. Getting to the playoffs is almost entirely out of the question, meaning it’s time to see what they have in all of their players.
At this point, it’s well-known what Iglesias brings. Mayfield is much more of a wild card, and it’s possible they’re just giving him a trial run to see what they have in him as a shortstop.
Nights like Monday show why it’s important for the Angels to go out and try to win every game they can. Yes, it won’t help them this year, but it can be a springboard for competing in 2022. Perhaps Mayfield earned the ability to be a part of that contention with his continued impressive outings.
Maddon looking to challenge Jo Adell
Unlike Mayfield, Adell can and should be a virtual lock to be a major part of next season’s roster. However, he’s still young and imperfect, and Maddon wants to see what he has in Adell during the last month of the season.
Part of this challenge included playing him at the cleanup spot in the lineup on Saturday against the San Diego Padres.