The Guardians announced a host of roster moves before tonight’s contest with the Twins (relayed by Mandy Bell of MLB.com). Outfielder Oscar Mercado has been designated for assignment, while reliever Nick Sandlin was optioned to Triple-A Columbus. The moves clear active roster space for starter Aaron Civale and designated hitter Franmil Reyes, each of whom has been reinstated from the injured list. The series of transactions clears a spot on the 40-man roster, which now totals 39.
Mercado has been a member of the Cleveland organization for nearly four years. The club acquired him from the Cardinals at the 2018 trade deadline in a rare prospect-for-prospects swap, sending lower level outfielders Jhon Torres and Conner Capel the other way. Mercado reached the big leagues the following May, and he quickly cemented himself as Terry Francona’s primary center fielder. Over 482 plate appearances during his debut season, Mercado hit .269/.318/.443 and tallied 15 home runs and stolen bases apiece.
Paired with highly-regarded defensive metrics, the former second-round pick looked to have emerged as a member of the long-term core. His low walk totals and modest power always capped his offensive upside, but he showed above-average contact skills and the athleticism to make an impact on the basepaths and with the glove. That hasn’t proven the case, however, as Mercado’s productivity at the plate has taken a nosedive since his rookie year.
He didn’t hit at all during the abbreviated 2020 season, and Cleveland sent him back to Triple-A on optional assignment to open the 2021 campaign. He had a capable but unspectacular showing over 45 games with Columbus, but he was nevertheless recalled at the end of June. Mercado spent the rest of the season in the majors but managed a modest .224/.300/.369 showing through 238 plate appearances.
2021 was Mercado’s final minor league option year, meaning the Guardians had to keep him on the big league roster this season. They’ve done so for the first two and a half months, but he’s posted just a .202/.227/.377 line through 49 contests. The continued offensive difficulties eventually proved too much for the front office to ignore, particularly with Reyes now healthy and rookie outfielder Oscar González off to an impressive start to his MLB career. Cleveland acquired Myles Straw last summer to serve as the everyday center fielder, while Steven Kwan has held his own as the primary starter in left field.
The Guardians will now have a week to trade Mercado or try to run him through outright waivers. He’s still just 27 years old, and his combination of bat-to-ball skills and defensive acumen could lead another team to acquire him. Any club that does so would have to keep Mercado on their active roster or DFA him themselves, but he’s yet to reach arbitration eligibility and has some MLB success on his resume. That’d make him an interesting depth flier for a team searching for a fourth or fifth outfielder.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
ROY #8 in 2019
Another victim of the 2020 season, & hasn’t bounced back yet.
That’s my excuse too. I was on the fast-track.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Many players bombed out in 2020, Matt Olson hit .195, Hunter Renfroe hit .156, just a couple to mention. This was a seriously bad time & it reflected on many ball players performances. It interrupted their rhythm & should be taken seriously, especially young players.
Yea he looked like he was gonna be a real well rounded player for a long time, and then 2020 hit.
Bounced back? It seems more like he came back down to Earth after a brief trip in a hot air balloon. 96 ops+ when there was livelier ball then dropping back to 70 or so seems more like a correction rather than being a victim.
Especially when looking at his minor numbers.
It was all worth it.
He is a victim of fans. The fans chanted service time manipulation and they ruined his career. Fans should stfu and be fans and cheer when the team tells you to.
I thought another move would be coming after they sent Sandlin down. Leaving Castro wasn’t that move…none the less, pleased they went with the Mercado DFA route.
You could say, the team gave him the tomahawk chop. Well you can’t say that anymore, but you used to be able to say that. Now you just have to say, sorry Oscar, the team no longer wants you to guard things in Cleveland. I don’t know. I guess I’m still not sure what the are guarding.
Stop those Canadians at the shores of Lake Erie!
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
Guard us from another attack of the woke
Eventually , when you go out to dinner, you won’t be able to make “reservations.” That will change to “save me a damn table”…
Just like when the Tampa Bay Devil Rays caved to the woke evangelical Christian crowd and removed ‘Devil’ from their name. Remember how upset everyone was when that happened?.. oh that’s right, nobody cared because talking heads on TV didn’t tell them to be upset about it, haha.
“Facts and have a well known liberal bias.”
This place is Switzerland Roy.
You can still do the “Tomahawk Chop” in Atlanta. They still do it at Florida State as well.
Georgia. Florida. Enough said.
You can’t get tickets from a scalper anymore either.
I just miss calling them the Tribe. That was the best secondary nickname in all sports in my opinion. A heck of a lot better than Guards.
Here come the Cubs.
Numbers crunch. Gonzalez and Kwan are hitting and Mercado isn’t. Best case scenario he goes to another team and becomes another Tyler Naquin, worst case scenario he goes to another team and becomes another Bradley Zimmer
I’m stunned that The Jays are still carrying him on their roster. It’s pretty clear he’s never gonna hit. Same with Yu Chang – Pirates probably gonna cut him loose by the ASB. Meanwhile Bobby Bradley continues to stink it up in Columbus.
Free him from what? Walking more than he Ks?
When you’re walking 18 people in 18 innings, you can’t blame anyone but yourself.
It’s better than Darksides Phillies pen 😉
I kid I kid I kid
a more appealing option than lo cain just hit the market. angels, send lagares packing.
Cap & Crunch
I wouldn’t mind the Dodgers jumping in here one bit!
Thought this kid was gonna be a 3 War COF coming up. Looked like a McCutchen lite clone his rookie year
Yeah, man. Someone takes a flier on this kid (like the O’s, for example), and he pans out, it’s a huge pickup. The problem with your LAD is that he may not have the time to rework his plate approach with Mookie, etc., coming back, right?
I’m sure a lot of teams would be interested in a MiLB contract with this Mercado though.
Dodgers seem super likely to claim him. Would be an upgrade over Thompson and Romero. Unless he takes too long to go through waivers maybe. If he makes it to the Dodgers, it also likely means they can DFA him later when Betts gets healthy knowing he’d clear (as theyre last on waiver priority). Or they can just keep him as a platoon partner for Bellinger.
I can see the Oakland A’s jumping on this guy
They already have like 9 light hitting, defense first outfielders.
In nurse follars
Who’d have thought the Cleveland Baseball Team would turn over its entire roster of outfielders in 12 months?
Anyone who seen their depth chart? Their outfield has been awful for m;any years.
They’ve gotten to the point where they have no choice. All these guys who are just slightly different versions of each other have finally run out of options. Every single player they’ve jettisoned have one thing in common – they were given every opportunity to succeed in CLE, and every one of them blew it.
Surely there’s a market for Mercado.
Curly Was The Smart Stooge
As I mentioned above. 2020 confused a lot of players, & many reacted poorly. Some young players have not responded well. I’m hoping Mercado will shake off the webs & make a come back, he’s only 27.
“Mercado” is Spanish for “market.”
Good one Fink! lol
Me preguntaba si alguien percibiría la broma. ¡Usted es un caballero y un erudito, señor!
You can say that again.
Or in the words of Maxwell Smart: “That’s easy for you to say!”
It just won’t be a super.
Mercado is just not that good. Never really has been. Flash in the pan. Sizzled and burnt up.
Would be a nice depth pickup for Mets.
Angels should be in on this guy. Affordable 4OF option, AAA depth.
Forest City Spiders
About time. Don’t let the door hit you where the baseball gods split ya. Go find your Felix.
Dumpster Divin Theo
Oscars no grouch. Somebody sign him plz
Angels need depth at the position, especially if trading Adell for pitching is in the cards. Snap him up. Turn him around.
Not sure I can comment without four letter words, so I’ll clean it up. This is bull…
Granted, I was an instant fan of Oscar from his debut, so I may be taking this more personally than the average person who doesn’t care, but don’t most players get in a slump? I remember about two years ago, Jose not being able to get a hit to save his life. This year, I have seen Franmil less than impressive at the plate. Currently, Straw is struggling. What I want to know is, when do you get behind a player and support him, and when do you kick him to the curb? Do they have a batting coach? Come on Guards, help a player out for crying out loud. Merc may be struggling at bat, but let’s remember the man is still an asset in the outfield, effective base runner, and base stealer.
Good luck Oscar. I will miss you in Cleveland!
I hope you land with a team that cares.
Straw and Reyes are better than Mercado and have more potential. Each have had more mlb success than Mercado. Straw has the long-term contract and Reyes has power that the Guardians need. Cleveland is loaded with young talent., They have stated that they are not going to block the young players to see who should stay and who does not before their top prospects arrive. That is why Mercado, Zimmer, Bradley, and Chang are gone. They had their opportunities.
Well, as I said, I hope he lands with a team that cares to work with him.
Cleveland has won 17 of their last 21 games with the kids. They are the future, not Oscar Mercado.
Hopefully he accepts a minors assignment, I’d hate to see him go. My Dad pointed him out to me at a 2019 Indians game and started talking about how polished he was as a rookie. Even though he’s struggled a lot since then we still always look for his name in the lineup.
I was hoping Cleveland would option Palacios instead. I mean, he’s not hitting super well and has options left. Personally I think he’s going to start dropping off soon, he’s got a BABIP of .333!
Like you said tho, Good Luck Mercado! Hope you’re able to find a team that’ll give you a longer look
It’s not a matter of him accepting a minors assignment, it’s whether or not another team claims him on his way through waivers.
I would bet someone is going to claim him based on his pedigree and rookie results. He doesn’t even need to hit like that again to be a useful 4th OF, he just needs to improve offensively somewhat and his speed and D will make him useful off the bench.
He batted just over .300 his first 40 games of his career. In 700 AB since then….he is hitting .220. Once they figured out the holes in his swing, he hasn’t been able to get on base. Its a shame because he has some speed and plays good defense.
Another player the cardinal fans were all crying about letting go. Just goes to prove cardinal fans have always been wrong
One of the “stellar” blog writers in Chicago wrote about how the White Sox should put together a package of Gavin Sheets and another prospect for Mercado not even a month ago. Was one of the most idiotic things I read at the time and has managed to age even more poorly since.
Too late to edit, but wanted to clarify it was just Sheets for Mercado straight up. Mercado, who is a RH hitter and can’t hit righties for Sheets who is the ONLY true LH hitter they have on their entire 40 man roster…
I cringe everytime I hear Guardians, brutal name, I’m not a big Indians fan but I thought Mercado was good, Terry knows best