The Pirates are scouting Hunter Pence

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The bizarro theme of “Pittsburgh Pirates: trade deadline buyers” continues.  Building on their alleged contacts with the Oakland A’s regarding Josh Willingham, Rob Biertempfel of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review reports today that they’re aiming higher than that:  they’re scouring the Astros’ Hunter Pence.

It strikes me as unlikely that anything could come of that.  Not too long ago Ken Rosenthal reported that the Astros were unlikely to trade Pence unless Jim Crane took over the team before the deadline — which is unlikely — and ordered such a deal.  Add onto that the rumors that Ed Wade seems to be asking for way too much for Wandy Rodriguez, and you have to figure that he’d probably be asking too much for Pence too.  Assuming that his current position — sort of a lame duck GM, waiting for a new boss — even inspires him to make a deal.

So this is fun from a “hmm, what could help Pittsburgh continue to contend” perspective, but I’d be rather shocked to see anything real come of this.

Report: Tigers sign Jordy Mercer to one-year, $5.25 million deal

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On Wednesday afternoon, the Tigers agreed to a one-year, $5.25 million with shortstop Jordy Mercer, per Fancred’s Jon Heyman.

Mercer, 32, hit .251/.315/.381 with six home runs and 39 RBI in 436 plate appearances for the Pirates last season. His triple-slash line from 2018 is pretty close to his career triple-slash line, so that’s about what the Tigers should expect from him.

Mercer will take over as the full-time shortstop for the Tigers, who lost José Iglesias to free agency. Mercer does have versatility, with the ability to play first, second, and third base as well as the corner outfield in a pinch.