LAS VEGAS — Jordy Mercer is officially a member of the Detroit Tigers.
The team officially announced his signing to a one-year contract on Friday, two days after news of the deal first leaked out. The contract is worth a reported $5.25 million.
Mercer, 32, took over as the Pirates’ everyday shortstop in 2013 and has started at least 100 games in each of the last five seasons. The native of Taloga, Okla., is a career .256 hitter in 2,996 plate appearances. He hit a career-high 14 home runs in 2017 and has at least 20 doubles in each of the last six seasons.
Mercer was the Pirates’ third-round pick in 2018 out of Oklahoma State University.
“One of our priorities this offseason was to sign a shortstop, and Jordy is a solid addition to our ball club,” Tigers general manager Al Avila said in a release. “He was one of the players we targeted heading into the offseason, and we’re really drawn to his consistency, both on the field at a premium position and in the clubhouse as a player that is a true veteran leader.”
On Tuesday, Avila suggested the Tigers were taking their time with their shortstop search. That apparently changed on Wednesday. With a crowded market of mid-tier shortstops (including former Tiger Jose Iglesias, Freddy Galvis and Adeiny Hechavarria), Mercer may have been motivated to sign quickly.
Mercer and his wife, Kasey, currently reside in Edmond, Okla., and have three children, Maverick, Maddon and Manning.
Tigers pitcher Michael Fulmer is also from Edmund. Manager Ron Gardenhire’s hometown of Okmulgee is about two hours away.
Iglesias has been the Tigers’ regular shortstop since he was acquired in a trade from the Boston Red Sox in 2013 (although he missed the entire 2014 season due to injury). Iglesias said goodbye to fans shortly after the end of the regular season and the Tigers didn’t make a serious effort to re-sign him.