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White Sox outfielder Mark Payton signs with the Seibu Lions

by Joe Binder

After rejoining the White Sox on a minor league deal, it appears that Mark Payton is not staying within the organization.

According to a tweet by Seibu Lions, the 31-year-old outfielder has reached a deal with the Japanese club. The Twitter-provided translation of the tweet below is as follows:

“We are pleased to inform you that Mark Payton has decided to join the team. His uniform number is 10.”

A Chicagoland native, Payton originally signed with the White Sox on March 28 with an invite to spring training. He was later assigned to Triple-A Charlotte, where he showed some promise after going .293/.369/.539 with 25 home runs, 95 RBI, and .908 OPS. This led to two separate stints in September where Payton appeared in eight games, but failed to make an impact having gone .143/.280/.143 (3-for-21) with one RBI.

Following the season’s end, Payton was non-tendered by the club on November 18 and became a free agent. Not long after, he agreed to a new minor league deal with the White Sox on November 21 and was assigned back to Triple-A Charlotte.

The decision to bring back Payton this offseason was the same as when he was originally brought in – to provide outfield depth at the highest level of the organization’s affiliates. After all, he led the Knights in nearly all offensive categories this past season and was named a Triple-A All-Star on November 7. His versatility at all three outfield positions in his minor league career also allowed for him to be a great backup candidate should someone get injured at the major league level. The White Sox will now need to look elsewhere for some additional outfield depth ahead of the season.

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Featured Photo: Laura Wolff Photography/Charlotte Knights

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