Yermín Mercedes, who stormed out of the gate this season and took over baseball in April in timeless fashion, retired from baseball tonight, in decidedly 2020s fashion.
Earlier on Wednesday, Mercedes posted a cryptic message on Instagram, after deleting everything related to the White Sox off of his account:
Mercedes started at catcher in the Charlotte Knights game tonight. After flying out in his first at-bat, then grounding out to the pitcher in his second, Mercedes was pinch-hit for by fellow catcher Nate Nolan in the sixth inning of Triple-A Charlotte’s loss tonight. Later, his Instagram account posted this message:
This English message is an Instagram translation, which likely explains a lot of its obtuse nature, but surely something does not feel right about this impulsive decision, particularly when Mercedes is referencing his “immaturity.” Publicly, the White Sox have been supportive of Mercedes through his slump in Chicago and demotion to Charlotte, and the catcher was hitting .309/.377/.655 for the Knights.
Reaction to this news has been almost universal shock, whether from White Sox fans or around baseball.
Whether Mercedes literally announced his retirement to manager Wes Helms in-game, or his final Instagram post came as a result of him being pulled from the game, is not yet known.
The White Sox released a statement in-game:
"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. At this point in time, the White Sox have not received any official notification from Yermín concerning his future plans."— Scott Merkin (@scottmerkin) July 22, 2021
After tonight’s White Sox loss, manager Tony La Russa offered encouragement to his young catcher, telling media postgame, “As you probably know, if you are paying attention, several times [Mercedes] 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.”