On Monday, Guardians outfielder Oscar Mercado was designated for assignment.
It’s the third time this season that Mercado found himself on the outside of a 40-player roster.
It’s not surprising, considering Mercado’s performance at the plate this season has been dreadful.
So far this season, Mercado is slashing .208/.244/.375 with an OPS+ of just 75.
For comparison, Guardians star José Ramirez is rocking an OPS+ of 166.
And while Mercado isn’t anywhere close to the player that Ramirez is, it just goes to show how wide of a gulf there is between the two players.
Oh, and Mercado’s OPS+ isn’t even the lowest on the general starting roster; those honors belong to Austin Hedges (37).
So what’s next for Mercado after yet another DFA stint?
Pick Me Up
The last time Mercado was DFA’d by the Guardians, he was picked up by the Philadelphia Phillies.
He went on to have a legendary career in Philadelphia, with his one at-bat resulting in a strikeout.
In the five games since returning from Philadelphia, Mercado has actually played better, batting .333 with two hits and two walks.
Now, with the DFA status back in hand, Mercado has two futures ahead of him.
….. and making his first @MLB start tonight in centerfield for your @CleGuardians, a 5’11” hardworking, never say can’t, small town kid from River Falls, Wisconsin ….. #65 Alex Call. 👊🏻💙⚾️ pic.twitter.com/otZEk3mbDU
— RF Baseball (@RFHS_Baseball) July 12, 2022
One week after designating him, the Guardians can either trade him or place him on waivers.
If he is claimed off waivers, Mercado will immediately be added to the team’s 40-player rotation.
If Mercado clears waivers, he can either be released or sent down to the minors.
Mercado was given time in Cleveland’s outfield while regular starter Oscar Gonzalez deals with time on the injured list.
Unfortunately, Mercado was not the answer in Cleveland.
But he also represents a movement by the Guardians to continually rotate the outfield, bringing in young talent to see what it has moving forward.
Which brings us to Mercado’s lineup replacement: Alex Call.
Better Call Call
Who exactly is Alex Call?
Call came to the Guardians from the Chicago White Sox back in 2018 in exchange for Cleveland’s first baseman Yonder AlonsoThroughout of his career, Call has spent all seven seasons in the minors.
This season in the minors, Call’s notched 11 homers and is slashing .283/.418/.504.
Further, he’s sporting a walk rate over 16%, which is a great sign for up-and-comers in terms of pitch selection and patience.
The @CleGuardians have promoted Alex Call from AAA Columbus. Oscar Mercado has been DFA’d.
Cleveland acquired Call from the White Sox for Yonder Alonso.
— Al Pawlowski (@AlPawlowski) July 11, 2022
Call might not be the second coming of Steven Kwan, but if he brings any kind of production at the plate, he’ll be an upgrade over Mercado.
He’s capable of playing all three outfield positions, but it’s unclear where he’ll play.
For much of the season, Steven Kwan and Myles Straw have occupied two of the outfield slots.
Oscar Gonzalez looked the part of a future everyday starter before he went down with an injury.
And recently, Nolan Jones has been crushing it since his own call up, with seven hits in 17 at-bats this season.
Regardless, Call’s call-up represents a promising sign for Cleveland.
It shows that the club is willing to let its guys on the farm get a look at the big leagues, especially at a time when the team is scuffling towards the All-Star break.
It’s worked wonders for Nolan Jones.
Let’s see if Call’s got what it takes.