When Neil Walker returns from the disabled list on Monday, someone is going to have to be removed from the Pittsburgh Pirates‘ 25-man roster. I know who I want to be removed, but rumor has it that the Pirates are planning on optioning Jordy Mercer back to Triple-A Indianapolis.
The fact of the matter is that Mercer has been hitting well in his short time with the Pirates in 2013, and he even hit in his time with Indianapolis to begin the season. In 29 plate appearances with the big league Pirates, Mercer has hit for a .286/.310/.679 slash line, numbers that he likely wouldn’t be able to sustain. While playing in Triple-A, Mercer hit for a .333/.404/.448 slash line. The odd thing about Mercer is that he has shown so much power in his short time with the Pirates, but he has shown very little power in the minor leagues. The power is likely a result of a small sample size.
John McDonald, the man I want to have designated for assignment, is a 38-year-old veteran infielder that truly has no place on this Pirates’ roster. He is a “defensive wizard” with little-to-no offense. Well guess what? The Pirates’ starting shortstop, Clint Barmes, is the same player, just with better offense. What is the point of keeping McDonald? There is none.
If Pirates general manager Neal Huntington and manager Clint Hurdle actually decide to keep McDonald instead of Mercer, I will be beyond frustrated. Huntington and Hurdle will claim that Mercer will be able to get more at-bats in Triple-A, but I think he will be able to get plenty of at-bats with spot starts at shortstop and second base, while sprinkling in pinch-hitting appearances. Not to mention, isn’t the point of the game to have the best 25 players on the roster in the big leagues? Apparently it isn’t with the Pirates.
If the Pirates do decide to make the correct move in designating McDonald for assignment, then this will all be a moot point, so let’s all hope it becomes just that, a moot point. To me, this is a no-brainer, but to Huntington, it’s probably an extremely difficult decision that will result in Pirates’ fans on Twitter reverting back to the #FreeJordyMercer hashtag.