Chicago’s Yermin Mercedes Makes Shocking Retirement Announcement After Getting Demoted
Chicago White Sox rookie Yermin Mercedes appears to have brought a premature end to his baseball career, having announced his decision to step away from the game indefinitely via an Instagram post on Wednesday night in which he also apologized to the team for not accepting some of their decisions. His post was a pretty straightforward photo of the words “it’s over.”
“I want to apologize to all those who I inadvertently offended as a consequence of my immaturity like members of the radio, television, and press,” he wrote. “To all the team’s members where I was involved with, I’m sorry for failing as a human being and for not accepting some of their decisions. I’m stepping aside from baseball indefinitely.”
Mercedes did not go into details as it pertains to the decisions, that much remains unclear.
The 28-year-old Dominican catcher made his MLB debut last year. He set a league record on April 4, having become the first player in modern history to kick off a season with eight consecutive hits. The Yermin-ator, as he’s known, hit the longest home run of the current season, to date, going for 485 feet against the Kansas City Royals on April 8.
Mercedes signed with The Washington Nationals as an international free agent back in 2011 and spent the 2011, 2012, and 2013 seasons with the DSL Nationals. He was released in August 2013 before signing a minor league deal with the Baltimore Orioles in 2014. He spent 2015 with the Delmarva Shorebirds, splitting the 2017 campaign between Frederick and the Bowie Baysox.
The White Sox drafted him to the minor league part of the Rule 5 draft and he spent the 2018 season with the Winston-Salem Dash. The 2019 season was split between the Birmingham Barons and Charlotte Knights.
He was called up to the major leagues last August and would make his debut as a pinch-hitter. The player earned AL Player of the Week to open the season and struck .415 with five homers and 16 RBIs in 22 games in April. He’s struggled since then, however, with his batting average dropping to .271. He was demoted to Triple-A Charlotte at the beginning of July.
Earlier on Wednesday, he hinted at retirement in an Instagram story, posting “El Retiro” alongside a thinking emoji.
The team appeared to have been blindsided by the decision to retire.
“The White Sox are aware of tonight’s Instagram post by Yermín Mercedes, who is currently on the active roster of our Class AAA team in Charlotte, NC,” they said in a statement. “At this point in time, the White Sox have not received any official notification from Yermín concerning his future plans.”
Manager Tony La Russa caught wind of the development after the White Sox lost to the Minnesota Twins on Wednesday in a 7-2 affair. Fans could continue to take advantage of odds relating to the team in a DraftKings Casino
La Russa has said he will try to reach out to the catcher.
“I understand you’re in Triple-A, away from the big leagues, you can get emotional,” the manager said. “Don’t know more than that. Will reach out to him. Could be just a little frustrated. I’ll try to explain to him that he has a big league future.”
The 28-year-old played with some panache, being an older rookie but was the subject of La Russa’s criticism after swinging at a 3-0 pitch late in a blowout win over the Twins. He responded to the criticism with claims he wasn’t going to change. There were other issues apart from the 3-0 pitch. He was also benched in a game in early May after arriving at the ballpark late.
He became a fan favorite after making the team when left fielder Eloy Jiminez picked up an injury during spring training. He already has a hamburger, the Yerminator, named after him at a local restaurant.
“When Eloy Jimenez went down, SOMEONE needed to step up and Yermin Mercedes did that times ten. If the Chicago White Sox win the division by a fair amount, he deserves A LOT of that credit. He was better than Mike Trout for one month. I wish him well,” journalist Vinnie Parise tweeted, echoing the sentiments of most of the baseball world in the wake of the announcement.
Mercedes was none too pleased after being sent back to the minors and made no secret of that.
“He’s a talented guy,” La Russa offered. “He earned the spot on the roster. Then, he earned all those at-bats. And he ran into what happens often to rookies. There’s so much video and tape, and they start making adjustments. You have to learn how to adjust back. I know the stroke that he showed early — his head’s on the ball and he’s not getting too big — he can make those adjustments and he can hit in the big leagues.”