You do not even need to squint that much to see that 2017 Jordy Mercer was the same guy as 2016 Mercer. It is crazy to see consecutive batting averages and on-base percentages that close to one another while the slight bump in slugging comes from two more doubles and three more home runs. He is a decent counting category contributor in NL-only leagues as he can chip in some homers, runs and RBI, but he gives you nothing in steals and is a zero sum game in both batting average and on-base percentage leagues. Mercer should once again hit near the bottom of the lineup in 2018, as that walk rate over the past two seasons is more him accepting his walks batting ahead of the pitcher than any growing skill. He had 52 walks last year, 28 of which came while he hit eighth in the lineup and another 12 hitting in front of the backup catcher. Shortstop prospect Kevin Newman had a rough 2017, but is still close to the majors, and the Pirates will soon be looking to upgrade that position, one way or another.
Mercer agreed to a one-year, $6.75 million deal with the Pirates on Friday, avoiding arbitration, Rob Biertempfel of TribLive.com reports. The 31-year-old shortstop will make a pretty good living in his final year before free agency. He was a good defensive shortstop last season, but hit just .255/.326/.406 with 14 home runs in 558 plate appearances. The Pirates are entering a mini-rebuild, and if Mercer isn't performing, he could start to lose out on at-bats to younger players in the organization.
Mercer (knee) is not in the lineup for Sunday's game against the Nationals, Adam Berry of MLB.com reports. Mercer will miss his seventh consecutive game with a nagging knee injury, being replaced by Max Moroff at shortstop for the season's final game. Mercer will conclude the season with a .255 average, 14 homers and 58 RBI.
Mercer (knee) is out of Saturday's lineup against the Nationals. With him sitting in the penultimate game of the season (his sixth missed game in a row), it's possible we've seen the last of Mercer in 2017. Max Moroff will start at short and bat eighth.
Mercer (knee) is out of the lineup for Thursday's game against the Nationals. Mercer's knee injury continues to linger, so he'll start on the bench for a third straight contest. He'll remain a day-to-day case, while Max Moroff is starting at shortstop and batting eighth in his place.
Mercer (knee) is not in the lineup against the Orioles on Wednesday, MLB.com's Adam Berry reports. Mercer is still dealing with a knee injury that has forced him to miss the past two games. He remains day-to-day for the time being, and Sean Rodriguez will start at shortstop in his stead.