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Guardians promote Alex Call, designate Oscar Mercado for assignment

File this one under “inevitable”

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Our photo tool is lacking in Alex Call photos, so here are some baseballs
Photo by Juan Gasparini/MLB Photos via Getty Images

The Guardians continue to tinker with their outfield while Oscar Gonzalez rides the injured list. Today the team will be promoting 27-year-old outfielder Alex Call, who will be making his MLB debut, to replace 27-year-old Oscar Mercado, who has 941 plate appearances in the majors without much success.

Call was acquired in 2018 in exchange for first baseman Yonder Alonso and has slowly worked his way towards the majors ever since. Last season he flourished in Double-A, with a .310/.389/.503 slash and career-high 142 wRC+ in 43 games, but fell back to an average hitter once he reached Triple-A.

Luckily, Triple-A has treated him much better in 2022 as he has accumulated 11 home runs and a .283/.418/.504 slash in 68 games with the Columbus Clippers. He has also walked 16.4% of the time this season, a career-high at any level. His improved plate discipline and consistent play in the outfield was enough for the Guardians to give him a shot.

I wouldn’t expect Call to be the next superstar for Cleveland, but if they get any kind of production out of him they’ll “win” the Yonder Alonso trade by a long shot. Alonso played just 67 games for the White Sox and slashed .178/.275/.301 before being DFA’d and eventually picked up by the Rockies. He was worth -1.3 fWAR for the White Sox, and even worse, he failed to convince his brother-in-law, Manny Machado, to join the team.

Call isn’t in the starting lineup against his former team tonight with the right-handed pitcher on the mound, but that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s up strictly to platoon. If indeed he is up to platoon with fellow rookie Nolan Jones, I will burn this entire website to the ground.

As for Oscar Mercado, his second stint in Cleveland wasn’t much better than his first. He returned after a legendary career with the Phillies (1 PA, 0 H, 0 HR, 0 RBI, 0 SB, 0 BB, 1 SO) to go 2-for-6 with a pair of singles on the Guardians’ most recent road trip. Mercado was brought back as a bandaid with Gonzalez on the injured list, but now the Guardians are clearly more interested in seeing what they have in the minors as opposed to giving Mercado another chance to prove himself.