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Pirates avoid arbitration with Jordy Mercer

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Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Pirates have agreed to terms with Jordy Mercer on a $2.075 million deal for 2016, avoiding arbitration, Jon Heyman tweets. That figure comes in a bit ahead of the $1.8 million MLBTR projected Mercer would receive.

Mercer had a poor offensive season in 2015, but still contributed about half a win above replacement because of the quality of his defense (or, to put it more precisely, because he can play defense competently at shortstop, a position where it's currently incredibly difficult to find someone who can both play decent defense and hit). His offense might rebound a bit in 2016, particularly since both his 2015 home run total (three) and isolated slugging (.076) seem low compared to his career norms. That means he's worth sticking with for awhile, particularly since the price is reasonable and there aren't a ton of great alternatives out there (unless you consider Jung-Ho Kang an everyday shortstop, and even then, moving Kang to shortstop full-time would just create a hole elsewhere).

With Mercer off the board, the Pirates now have four players (Mark Melancon, Francisco Cervelli, Tony Watson and Jared Hughes) with arbitration cases pending.