The Pirates have switched infielders in time for Tuesday’s game against the Cincinnati Reds, promoting shortstop Jordy Mercer and optioning utilityman Yamaico Navarro to Class AAA Indianapolis. This move comes as no surprise, since general manager Neal Huntington recently suggested the Bucs might swap Mercer and Navarro.
Mercer is unlikely to provide a huge amount of help to the Pirates’ woeful offense, but he was hitting .303/.379/.417 in Indianapolis, and his defense at shortstop, based on everything I’ve seen, is solid. Clint Barmes, who received a two-year deal from the Pirates last offseason, has hit a miserable .170/.196/.270 so far; Mercer isn’t likely to hit brilliantly, but he’s certainly likely to be better than that. We’ll see how the Pirates distribute playing time at shortstop — they won’t want to completely give up on Barmes, in whom they made a $10.5 million investment, but Mercer is much younger, and he isn’t slumping.
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