The Nationals have agreed to a minor league contract and Major League Spring Training invite with veteran shortstop Jordy Mercer, tweets Jesse Dougherty of the Washington Post. Fansided’s Robert Murray adds that Mercer would make $1MM in the Majors, should he make the roster, with another $400K available via incentives. He also has an opt-out clause that he can trigger if he’s not added to the big league roster by a certain date — a common provision in minor league pacts for veterans of this nature.
Mercer, 34, was the Pirates’ primary shortstop from 2013-18, hitting at a combined .257/.317/.383 in 2928 plate appearances across that six-year stretch. He and his Pittsburgh double-play partner, Josh Harrison, hit free agency after the 2018 season and both signed with the Tigers that year. Both missed time due to injury, but Mercer returned late in the year and went on a torrid hot streak, finishing out the year with an overall .270/.310/.438 slash through 271 plate appearances.
That strong finish earned Mercer a return bid with the Tigers in 2020, but the Detroit organization quickly moved on after the start of the season, opting instead to give opportunities to younger players who might factor more prominently into the team’s rebuilding plan. Mercer caught on with the Yankees, but he only totaled nine big league games between the two clubs.
With the Nationals, Mercer will again be reunited with Harrison, who inked a $1MM deal for the 2021 season at the very beginning of the offseason. He’ll have to earn his way onto the roster, but his ability to back up at any infield position could serve him well in his bid to do so. All in all, Mercer is a career .257/.315/.386 hitter through more than 900 Major League games.