Jordy Mercer Makes Sense for Oakland


Aug 29, 2014; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer (10) hits an infield single against the Cincinnati Reds during the third inning at PNC Park. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates won the posting bidding for Korean shortstop Jung-Ho Kang with a bid  just a shade over $5 million.

How does that impact the Oakland Athletics?

If the Pirates reach an agreement with Kang, they will have a surplus of middle-infielders from which to deal. And the Athletics happen to have a need at middle infield.

Jordy Mercer, the current starting shortstop for the Pirates, would make for a perfect trade candidate to bolster Oakland’s middle infield.

More from Oakland A's Rumors

Despite playing in a career-high 149 games, the 28-year old Mercer smacked 12 home runs and drove in 55 with a wRC+ of 91. His rate stats, however, took a dive. He batted .255/.305/.387, which was down from .285/.336/.435 in 2013 when he played in 103 games.

Defensively he played mostly shortstop in 2014, where he tallied 9 defensive runs saved. In 2013 though, Mercer played 26 games at second base.

In 2014 the Athletics received a .578 OPS from their second baseman, good for 29th out of 30 teams. Mercer’s OPS last season was .693, and in 333 at-bats in 2013 was .772.

A trade for mercer would not leave the defensively proficient Eric Sogard hanging, however. Sogard bats left handed and could fit into a platoon with the right-handed hitting Mercer.

Mercer batted .314/.349/.455 against left-handed pitching in 121 at-bats with 3 home runs and an OPS+ of 127 in 2014. Against righties his numbers are far less tasty: .236/.292/.366, 9 homers, and an 88 OPS+ in 385 at-bats.

In 209 career at-bats vs. lefties Mercer has 7 home runs, 31 RBIs, a .340/.382/.531 triple-slash line, 153 OPS+, and 15 walks to just 22 strikeouts.

It is safe to say that Mercer would be a tremendous upgrade at second base offensively and he has the ability to be a step up defensively.

General manager Billy Beane tends to look for players in line to bounce back. Mercer might not seem like a bounce-back candidate due to career highs in his counting stats and relatively young age, he certainly has fallen in some very important categories such as On-base and slugging percentage, as well as advanced metrics like isolated slugging and wRC+.

He also looks for players who offer defensive flexibility. Mercer has played games at third base, first base, and in right field since 2013.

Pittsburgh is a smart and balanced club. Their needs are few and they are in a buying mode, having made the postseason each of the last two seasons. So Mercer will not come easily.

However, with the potential investment in Kang, as well as incumbent Silver Slugger award winning second baseman Neil Walker and serviceable backup Sean Rodriguez in the fold the Pirates can flip Mercer to improve their pitching depth chart.

The Athletics can offer one of the young starting pitching pieces they have acquired this offseason such as Chris Bassitt or Kendall Graveman. The A’s could use Ryan Cook or Eric O’Flaherty in a package to send to Pittsburgh as well.

Mercer is four years from agency and is not arbitration eligible for another year, making him the kind of asset Beane has been coveting this winter.

Think this deal might be on Beane’s mind? Who should the A’s send to Pittsburgh for Mercer?

Let me know via Twitter or leave a comment below!