It’s a quick return to Cleveland for Mercado, as the Guardians just designated him for assignment on June 21. He was claimed by the Phillies on June 27 before being designated for assignment again on July 1 and now being claimed and becoming a Guardian yet again.
Cleveland fans are likely familiar with the trajectory by now, with Mercado giving a tantalizing debut in 2019 but disappointing results since then. In that 2019 campaign, Mercado hit 15 homers and stole 15 bags, putting up a batting line of .269/.318/.443. Combined with his defensive contributions, he was worth 2.2 wins above replacement that year, according to FanGraphs.
Given that he was just 24 years old at the time, it seemed reasonable to expect that might have just been the tip of the iceberg, with even better results to come as he matured. Unfortunately, the opposite has happened, with Mercado putting up a line of .198/.254/.330 in the 2 1/2 seasons since then, a line that amounts to a wRC+ of 60.
After those tepid results, Cleveland seemingly gave up on him a couple weeks ago but has had a quick change of heart. It seemed possible that the Phillies would give him a real shot, given their troubles in the outfield. Though perhaps they were only interested in trying to pass him through waivers to be stashed as extra depth. Whatever their intentions, his stay in Philly has concluded after just a single plate appearance.
As for Ramirez, 27, he was an Astros prospect until Seattle nabbed him in the 2019 Rule 5 draft. He stuck with the Mariners through the shortened 2020 season, throwing 20 2/3 innings with a 2.61 ERA despite walking 21.3% of the batters he faced. In 2021, he logged another 27 2/3 innings at the big league level with a 3.90 ERA, 30.7% strikeout rate, 10.5% walk rate and 34.4% ground ball rate. He couldn’t sustain that this year, however, as his ERA shot up to 7.56 in 8 1/3 innings with the Mariners.
He was designated for assignment and eventually traded to Cleveland for cash considerations. The Guardians gave him just a single appearance at the big league level but 10 1/3 innings in Triple-A. His 4.35 ERA with Columbus isn’t awful, but that’s come despite an alarming 22.7% walk rate. The 27-year-old still has options and intriguing strikeout numbers. He could garner interest from other clubs, especially if any of them think they can help him with his control issues. The Guardians will have a week to trade him or pass him through waivers.