11:05pm: White Sox manager Tony La Russa only learned of Mercedes’ post after tonight’s game against the Twins but tells reporters he plans to reach out to Mercedes (Twitter links via MLB.com’s Scott Merkin).
La Russa drew plenty of criticism earlier this year for not supporting Mercedes after he missed a take sign and hit a 3-0 home run in a blowout win over Minnesota. Many have immediately jumped to the conclusion that La Russa’s handling of the situation contributed to Mercedes’ decision today, although there’s nothing to support that line of speculation. La Russa suggested that he and Mercedes are still on good terms:
“As you probably know, if you are paying attention, several times he said how close we are. He knows I’m a supporter of his. So I’ll reach out to him and see what’s going on. It could be he’s just feeling frustrated. … I’ll try to explain to him he’s got a big league future.”
9:15pm: White Sox designated hitter/catcher Yermin Mercedes announced on Instagram tonight that he’s stepping away from baseball “indefinitely.” The 28-year-old thanked his family, agent Daniel Szew, and his former teammates before concluding his post with the words: “it’s over.”
It’s a stunning development for a player whose breakout performance was one of the biggest storylines of the early 2021 season. Mercedes started the season as the White Sox’ designated hitter and went 8-for-8 to begin the year. Mercedes batted .368/.417/.571 through the season’s first 38 games, but he followed that up with a .150/.220/.196 across his next 118 plate appearances.
The White Sox optioned Mercedes to Triple-A Charlotte back on July 2, and he’s been ripping through minor league pitching since that time. In 14 games and 61 plate appearances, he’s batting .309/.377/.655 with four home runs, five doubles and a triple.
Despite Mercedes’ post tonight, the White Sox say they have not received any formal indication from the player himself. The team released the following statement:
“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. At this point in time, the White Sox have not received any official notification from Yermín concerning his future plans.”