Rangers, Phils swap former top picks

Rangers, Phils swap former top picks

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers traded offensive-power potential for speed and defensive potential in a swap of former No. 1 Draft picks with the Phillies on Thursday.

The Rangers sent outfielder John Mayberry Jr., their top pick in the 2005 First-Year Player Draft, to the Phillies for center fielder Greg Golson, who was taken with the 21st overall pick in 2004.

"It's a change of scenery for both guys," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "We've always liked [Golson's] athleticism, his makeup. He's a classic five-tool guy. Obviously, he's had high strikeout totals in the Minor Leagues, but we feel like he's made some adjustments and is improving there and he's aware of the type of offensive player he's capable of being. He's got power. He's a tremendous defensive center fielder with a plus arm."

Golson, who is from John B. Connally High School in Austin, Texas, is known for his outstanding defense and excellent speed but is still trying to develop his offensive game. He spent this past season at Double-A Reading, where he hit .282 in 106 games and 426 at-bats while scoring 64 runs and stealing 23 bases. He had a .333 on-base percentage and 130 strikeouts while walking just 34 times.

"I'm hoping this can open some doors." Golson said. "My family is going to be a lot closer to me now, so that's a good thing. If I have to go somewhere, this is a good place to go."

Golson was an Eastern League All-Star and played in the Futures Game at Yankee Stadium. He was called up by the Phillies in September to add speed to the bench and was 0-for-6 with four strikeouts.

Golson's biggest problem as a professional player has been that he strikes out too much. He has 623 strikeouts in 511 Minor League games, including 160 in 2006 and 174 in 2007.

But the Rangers could use a defensive center fielder with speed as a possible bench player. Currently, they have an outfield of David Murphy in left, Josh Hamilton in center and Nelson Cruz in right, plus Marlon Byrd, who could see time in left or right field. Brandon Boggs and Frank Catalanotto also remain in the picture.

Mayberry was the 19th overall pick of the 2005 Draft, selected at a time when the Rangers needed more power potential in their farm system. He has made steady but unspectacular progress through the system and was no better than a longshot to make the team out of Spring Training.

Mayberry spent last year at both Double-A Frisco and Triple-A Oklahoma, hitting .264 with 20 home runs and 71 RBIs in 135 games and 519 at-bats. He had a .317 on-base percentage and a .480 slugging percentage.

As a power-hitting prospect, he was passed by Chris Davis, who was a fifth-round pick in 2006 and made his Major League debut this past season. Mayberry, who is the son of former Royals infielder John Mayberry, Sr., has yet to play in the Major Leagues.

T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.