Looking to add more depth on the infield, the Nationals have signed veteran shortstop Jordy Mercer to a minor league contract.
Are the Washington Nationals still searching for a major league third baseman? With Trevor Bauer getting a huge contract from the Los Angeles Dodgers, does that mean they can’t afford Justin Turner, leaving him free to sign with the Nationals? One question fans are no longer asking is, who is going to play shortstop if Trea Turner and Starlin Castro both succumb to injury. The answer, Jordy Mercer.
You remember Jordy Mercer, don’t you? Mercer was a stalwart shortstop for the Pittsburgh Pirates for six plus seasons. He played side by side with current Nationals utility-man, Josh Harrison, for the majority of their time with the Buccos. The two met up again in Detroit before Harrison made his way to Washington last season. Mercer made a brief stop in New York, playing six games for the Yankees after three with the Tigers last season, and now hopes to resurface with the Nationals.
Mercer is a run of the mill shortstop who handles the glove well and hits for little power. His lifetime .257 batting average doesn’t speak volumes, yet his nearly seven thousand defensive innings at shortstop do. The depth chart at shortstop for the Nationals beyond the major league level is very sparse.
At age 34, Mercer’s best baseball playing days are behind him. If all goes as expected he will not see any time in the big leagues, though can provide great mentorship to younger infielders in the Nationals farm system.
Both general manager Mike Rizzo and manager Dave Martinez have been drawn to infielders who can play several positions in recent years. Howie Kendrick and Asdrubal Cabrera spent multiple years on the team with Brock Holt and Josh Harrison being added to the 2020 roster. Harrison played well enough to be asked back a second year.
While this move does not address third base for the Nationals, Mercer does provide valuable depth for the organization.