The Phillies announced that outfielder Oscar Mercado has been designated for assignment in order to open a spot on the roster for southpaw Bailey Falter, who has been recalled from Triple-A Lehigh Valley to start today’s game. Mercado had only been claimed off waivers from the Guardians a few days prior and struck out in his lone plate appearance with Philadelphia.
At the time of the original waiver claim, it looked as though the 27-year-old Mercado might be in line for a legitimate audition with the Phils, who will be without Bryce Harper for more than a month and who have seen both Mickey Moniak and Odubel Herrera struggle considerably of late. Mercado’s struggles at the plate in Cleveland over the past three years have been glaring, but he’s an above-average outfielder capable of playing all three spots — a skill set the Phillies sorely lack at present.
We’re not that far removed from the 2019 season, wherein Mercado finished eighth in AL Rookie of the Year voting on the heels of a solid .269/.318/.443 batting line through 115 games in Cleveland. He tallied 15 homers, 25 doubles, three triples and 15 steals to go along with strong defense and, at the time, looked to have cemented himself in the outfield there.
Instead, Mercado’s bat has curiously eroded. He’s batted just .198/.254/.331 since Opening Day 2020, and it turns out he won’t get an opportunity to right the ship with the Phillies after all. He’ll now either be traded, placed on outright waivers or released at some point in the next seven days (although the latter option seems rather unlikely). Mercado has not been outrighted previously in his career, so if he does go unclaimed this time around, the Phils would be able to send him outright to Triple-A and retain his rights without dedicating a 40-man roster spot to him.