Editorial: The Pittsburgh Pirates have less than a month left of baseball for the 2017 season. Could this also be Jordy Mercer‘s final games in black and gold?
The Pittsburgh Pirates had a roller coaster season. From beginning to end they have had to face a lot of adversity. Whether that was Jung Ho Kang being kept out of the country, Starling Marte being suspended, or just the constant disabled list trips from key players. However, one constant for the Pittsburgh Pirates have had this season is Jordy Mercer.
Mercer has been the Pittsburgh Pirates everyday shortstop since midway through the 2013 season. He has played at least 130 games ever since the start of the 2014 season, and he rarely misses games due to injury. He has never done one thing overly impressive for the Bucs, but rather does each facet of the game adequately, which has made him a solid option for the past few seasons.
This year Mercer has enjoyed one of his best seasons. On the year he has produced a slash line of .253/.324/.407, numbers that are all better than his career trends. He also has put up a career best in home runs with 13, as well as a career high in triples with four. Also, Mercer is on pace to surpass his career high in doubles and possibly RBIs. He also has rebounded defensively. Last season he posted a -10.1 UZR/150, this year he has a -0.8, which is about league average. Furthermore, after having -9 defensive runs saved last season, Mercer has zero this season.
Jordy Mercer is never going to be an all-star. As mentioned earlier, he is a very average player. However, being average at everything you do makes you a solid player in this league. There are a lot of players who have big time power or speed but cannot hit the ball, or a player who can really hit but cannot field his position. So Jordy Mercer is actually a player that a lot of teams would like to have most likely.
With that being said, could it be time for the Pittsburgh Pirates to move on from their everyday shortstop? Mercer is entering his final year of arbitration. For this season he earned $4.3 million. Next year he will likely get closer to $7 million. While this is not a ton of money, the Pittsburgh Pirates are always looking to save money and use cheaper options when the opportunity is there to do so. Next year the opportunity is there for them, as the Pittsburgh Pirates have former first round pick Kevin Newman in Triple-A, and he likely will make his début early on next season. Until then, the Bucs could roll with Sean Rodriguez or even Max Moroff at short.
There would likely be a decent market for Mercer. Many teams would look at his $7 million salary as a non-issue. He could step right in and help a team at short stop, second base, or even as a strong bench option. Teams that will likely be looking for infield help this offseason will be Miami, Kansas City, Toronto, San Francisco, Arizona, Boston, and possibly Colorado. Neal Huntington will always listen on players who are entering their final year of control. With Mercer being a solid player, and likely a low acquisition cost, teams will likely be interested. Meanwhile, the Bucs should be able to get a solid bullpen help, or even some prospects, and open the door for a hopefully more dynamic Kevin Newman next season.