Jun 16, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer (10) and second baseman Neil Walker (18) react after turning an inning ending double play against the Los Angeles Dodgers during the seventh inning at PNC Park. The Pittsburgh Pirates won 6-3. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

It’s Time For The Pirates To Start Jordy Mercer


Pirates fans have been frustrated with Clint Barmes for a long time. Defensively, Barmes is one of the best shortstops in the game. Offensively, Barmes has been putrid in his time as a Pirate. In 2013, Barmes holds a triple slash of .198/.231/.265. Barmes contract is up after this season, and unless he signs for a pack of big league chew, rather than something like the deal Pirates originally gave him (10.5 million dollars over two years), it’s unlikely that his career will continue in the steel city.

The Pirates have the luxury of having another shortstop not named John McDonald on the team right now, and although he has been getting more playing time lately, it’s time for Jordy Mercer to become the Pirates everyday shortstop. Comparing his triple slash to Barmes’, Mercer posts a triple slash of .289/.312/.489, and even has one more home run than Barmes (three, to Barmes’ two).

It’s pretty obvious at this point that as a defensive shortstop, Barmes is currently superior to Mercer. He has better range, is more consistent, and has a better mental grasp of the position. The issue that arises here is that for Mercer to improve defensively as a shortstop, he has to play there more often. You can practice all you want, but nothing works towards improvement as an athlete better than game reps.

Mercer is signed through 2019, while Barmes is only signed through the end of this year. Mercer would be a step back defensively from Barmes, but with the skill he provides as a hitter combined with the value of using these games to groom him defensively, it would be best at this point for the Pirates to start Mercer at shortstop.

Given the fact that Mercer is already far more effective with the bat than Barmes, and will be the Pirates long-term starting shortstop barring injuries, trades, etc. why would the Pirates continue to start Barmes? Thankfully Mercer has been getting more playing time of late, but it doesn’t seem the Pirates are ready to hand over the keys to him just yet. Barmes has shown what he can provide to the Pirates, and it’s not enough.

If Clint Hurdle and company are serious about changing the culture of losing with the Pirates, the first thing they must do is bench Barmes in favor of Mercer. Winning must take precedent over everything else for the Pirates right now, and Mercer can provide that better than any other option the Pirates currently have available at shortstop. Now, when can we cut Brandon Inge?

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  • Tj Streib

    Apparently, we’re being heard! – Jordy has started 6-of-7 and (GASP!!!) FOUR in a row! Has Hurdle actually turned into a Manager?

    I myself would cut Barmass before Inge. Why? Barmass has no future with the club anyway (see the decisions to eat the contracts of Sucki Iwamura or Matt Morris), we can’t stand to look at his cueballed skinny ass anymore (especially all the times he was permitted to bat in critical situations which screeeeEEEEEamed “PINCH-HITTER!!!”). Inge has more versatility & has already come up clutch more in 2 months than Barmass has in 2 years (Inge – GWRBI in each of his first 2 games, a couple game-saving defensive gems… PLUS spoiled 2 no-hitters in the same week). Loved Inge’s inexplicable face slap of Mercer during a routine mound meeting = a CHARACTER! (something this team can use!) Hate what’s been said about “presence”, but Inge has more personality in his little toe than Barmass does in his entire useless body. Barmass’ defense isn’t all that either! He merely managed to not screw up the routine play (ala Ronny Cedeno/Frank Tavares), which can’t be said for him this season. (I can bet the Pirates first offered Barmass plus CASH to Cleveland & were told, “Ehhhhhhh…. naaahhh, we’ll take Old McDonald instead. We do need a shortstop… but we’re not THAT desperate!”)

    • Campbell Sproul

      I like Inge’s versatility defensively, but it’s a toss up as to who is more valuable with the bat, they’re both pretty horrible.

    • Tj Streib

      The versatility is keeping Inge on the roster for sure… but he can occasionally surprise with the bat. Most of all, I do think his character is an asset to the team & that’s been addressed. Barmass is as exciting as watching paint dry. No, check that, I’d rather watch the paint!

    • Campbell Sproul

      Barmes brings a lot of intensity, according to his teammates. Doesn’t mean he’s producing, but at least he’s laying it all out there.