4:33PM: The Tigers have officially announced the signing.
2:35PM: The Tigers have brought back veteran shortstop Jordy Mercer on a new contract, MLB Network’s Jon Heyman reports (Twitter link). The deal is a minor league pact with an invitation to Detroit’s big league Spring Training camp, as per Anthony Fenech of the Detroit Free Press (via Twitter).
After signing a one-year, $5.25MM deal with the Tigers last winter, Mercer hit .270/.310/.438 over 271 plate appearances, despite missing much of the first half of the season with quad injuries. That roughly matches the .256/.316/.383 slash line Mercer posted over the first 2996 PA of his career from 2012-18 as a member of the Pirates, and he’ll now head back to the Motor City as a depth option.
Niko Goodrum is currently Detroit’s top choice at shortstop, though given Goodrum’s multi-positional versatility and the presence of both younger Willi Castro and now Mercer, the Tigers are arming themselves with some extra depth should they decide to again move Goodrum around the diamond. The 33-year-old Mercer gives the Tigers more veteran experience in that regard, as Castro has only 30 MLB games under his belt. Beyond just shortstop, Mercer could also back up elsewhere around the infield, as he has some experience as a first, second, and third baseman over his career.