With other more lucrative trade deadline pieces available in the middle infield, the Detroit Tigers play it safe and signs Jordy Mercer to a one year deal.
I was really happy about both of the Detroit Tigers’ free agent pickups so far this offseason. Matt Moore is a potential rebound candidate and could net a decent return at the trade deadline. Tyson Ross, same thing. Then, I saw this “bombshell” on my twitter feed from MLB Network Insider, Jon Heyman.
Jordy Mercer?!? Are you kidding me? This is an awful move for one simple reason: no one is going to trade for him! With Mercer, you’re looking at a career .251 hitter with an OPS a notch below .700. In other words, not good enough to net any kind of return at the trade deadline. The launch angle revolution is expected to return in 2019, and contending teams will be looking for a middle infielder with some pop. Mercer has twenty home runs COMBINED the last two seasons. I guess a pack of baseballs must be expensive in July?
Ok, so maybe hitting isn’t his forte. Let’s take a look at his fielding, shall we? Mercer committed 10 errors in 2018, with a .977 fielding percentage, which would put him around the middle of the pack in terms of shortstops. On the other hand, Jose Iglesias, who parted ways with the Tigers, only committed 8 errors and had a tidy .983 fielding percentage. You know who the Tigers could not trade at last year’s deadline due to lack of interest? Jose Iglesias.
The Detroit Tigers could have signed a plethora of guys to short-term deals that would have been more marketable at the trade deadline. They didn’t even necessarily need to sign a shortstop, as Niko Goodrum “earned” everyday at-bats with a better-than-expected 2018, and shortstop is one of the many positions this utility man can play. I would’ve preferred the Tigers to sign Ian Kinsler, or D.J Lemahieu, a former Birmingham Brother Rice standout.
Simply put, I do not understand this move. Mercer is 32 years old, plays average defense, and hits for very little power. Expect Mercer to remain on the team after July 31st and take away valuable playing time from some of the youngsters.