Phillies claim Oscar Mercado off waivers from Cleveland Guardians

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Phillies pick up outfielder Oscar Mercado off waivers from Cleveland originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

The Phillies picked up an outfielder from the Cleveland Guardians, claiming Oscar Mercado off waivers Monday afternoon.

Mercado, a right-handed hitter, will join the big-league club.

The 27-year-old has ample experience at all three outfield spots but the majority in center. He's graded out positively on defense in each of his four seasons and has been worth plus-15 Defensive Runs Saved, according to Baseball Info Solutions.

Mercado has 932 big-league plate appearances but has not hit since 2019, his rookie year. That season, he batted .269/.318/.443 with 25 doubles, 15 homers and 15 stolen bases, placing eighth in American League Rookie of the Year voting. In the three years since, Mercado has hit just .198 in 450 plate appearances.

Mercado was designated for assignment earlier in the week when Cleveland activated Franmil Reyes from the injured list. He was out of options, thus the DFA.

The Phillies needed more outfield depth with Bryce Harper out indefinitely with a fractured left thumb. Harper had not played the field since mid-April because of a small tear in the UCL of his throwing arm, but his absence will lead to more regular DH duty for Nick Castellanos, who had been playing right field every day.

The Phils are currently carrying five outfielders in Castellanos, Kyle Schwarber, Odubel Herrera, Matt Vierling and Mickey Moniak. They will make a move to activate Mercado once he arrives, which could be Tuesday.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Phillies placed left-handed reliever Damon Jones on the 60-day injured list with a left shoulder impingement.

The Phils also signed a lefty reliever, Jace Fry, to a minor-league contract. Fry made 127 appearances for the White Sox in 2018 and 2019 and struck out 138 in 106⅓ innings. Fry had a 3.77 ERA in 15 appearances earlier this season with the Nationals' Triple A affiliate in Rochester.

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