Pirates leaning toward using Gerrit Cole as playoff reliever

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Gerrit Cole tossed seven shutout innings last night as the Pirates clinched their first winning season since 1992–when he was two years old–but the standout rookie may not be starting any playoff games.

According to Travis Sawchik of the Pittsburgh Tribune Review, manager Clint Hurdle “indicated Cole’s postseason role would be in the bullpen.”

Francisco Liriano and A.J. Burnett have been the Pirates’ two best starters all season, but the choice for No. 3 starter is an interesting one. Wandy Rodriguez likely would have been the pick, but he’s hurt. Jeff Locke made the All-Star team, but has fallen apart since. Charlie Morton has been very good since coming off the disabled list. And then there’s Cole, who has a 3.48 ERA in 16 starts and has allowed more than three runs just twice.

Of course, if the Pirates don’t win the NL Central crown they’ll have to win the Wild Card play-in game or their choice for No. 3 starter will be moot.

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.