The Nationals announced they’ve activated infielder Jordy Mercer from the 10-day injured list. Minor league righty Steven Fuentes has also been reinstated from the 60-day injured list and optioned to Triple-A Rochester. To create space on the roster, Washington designated infielder Adrián Sánchez for assignment.
Sánchez, who has been part of the Nationals’ organization since signing as an amateur free agent back in 2007, has been on and off the big league roster over the past few years. Over parts of four MLB seasons, the utilityman has tallied 204 plate appearances of .262/.287/.328 hitting. While Sánchez makes a decent amount of contact, he’s neither walked nor hit for enough power to command a regular role. Because he’s out of minor league option years, Sánchez had to either stick on the active roster or be removed from the 40-man entirely.
The Nationals will place Sánchez on outright or release waivers over the coming days. The 31-year-old has already been outrighted in his career, so he’d have the right to elect free agency if he passes through unclaimed. Even if he accepts an outright assignment, he’d qualify for minor league free agency this winter if Washington doesn’t reselect him to the 40-man roster before the end of the season.
Mercer served in a utility capacity with Trea Turner entrenched at shortstop for much of the year. He landed on the IL with a left calf strain in late July, shortly before Turner was traded to the Dodgers as part of the Nats’ broad sell-off. Now firmly in evaluation mode, Washington figures to give regular opportunities to young players Carter Kieboom and Luis García at third and second base, respectively, over the season’s final few weeks. Mercer could share time at shortstop with veteran Alcides Escobar, who has been fine but unspectacular while holding down shortstop. Both Mercer and Escobar will reach free agency this offseason.