The SF Giants roster landscaping continues. Earlier this week, four Giants players from the 2022 season elected free agency. Another one joined them on Sunday as Yermín Mercedes was released according to the team's transaction log.
SF Giants release right-handed bat from the 2022 season
The Giants originally acquired the right-handed bat as a waiver claim from the Chicago White Sox. When the move was made, it was an intriguing addition as Mercedes has some level of success against major league pitching while also needing a change of scenery.
The 29-year-old really burst onto the scene in 2021 as he slashed .415/.455/.659 with five home runs, 16 RBI, and 10 runs in 88 plate appearances while taking home AL Rookie of the Months honors for April. He was unable to sustain that level of production as he posted a .537 OPS over the next 46 games before being optioned to Triple-A.
Mercedes never got another shot with the White Sox, so he was understandably excited when the Giants were awarded the claim.
He had some nice moments in a Giants uniform. In 83 plate appearances, he registered a .233/.325/.342 line (90 OPS+) with one home run, eight RBI, and nine runs. This includes a 10.8 percent walk rate against a 20.5 percent strikeout rate. The at-bat quality was definitely there.
Mercedes may not be an everyday player, but he is serviceable against left-handed pitching as he posted a .711 OPS against lefties in a small sample of 56 plate appearances with the Giants. That said, he is fairly limited on defense.
In the field, Mercedes has experience at first base, left field, and catcher. However, his playing time at catcher had dwindled in recent seasons as he just did not have the mobility or quickness to work behind the plate. He also proved that his days of playing left field are numbered or are already over.
It is tough for a right-handed platoon bat with limited defensive versatility to carve out a role with a team. The Giants placed him on waivers in September and he went unclaimed before accepting an assignment to Sacramento. Oddly enough, Mercedes was placed on the temporarily inactive list by Sacramento at the end of the season without an explanation.
The wording of the transaction was odd as well. He was released by the Giants but he should have been eligible to elect free agency. One way or the other, the outcome is the same in that he is now a free agent.