Right fielder Oscar Mercado of the Cleveland Indians catches a line drive from Yandy Diaz of the Tampa Bay Rays during the sixth inning at Progressive Field on July 25, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
World Baseball Network
The Aguilas Cibaenas of the Liga de Béisbol Profesional de la República Dominicana has added one Major Leaguer and one of MLB’s top prospects for the coming winter season.
ESPN Deportes’ Enrique Rojas tweeted on Friday that Oscar Mercado of the San Diego Padres organization and Cesar Prieto, a former Cardinals prospect now in the Baltimore Orioles organization, would be joining the Aguilas for the coming winter season.
Mercado has played parts of five seasons in the Major Leagues with Cleveland, Philadelphia and St. Louis. He appeared in 20 games with the Cardinals this season, slashing .290/.313/.387 with nine hits in 32 plate appearances before electing free agency on July 5. He then signed a minor league contract with the San Diego Padres, who assigned him to Triple-A El Paso on July 7. He opted out of that contract and was released on August 21.
In 298 Major League games over five seasons, Mercado has batted .237/.298/.388 with 26 home runs and 100 RBI and an OPS of .677.
After establishing himself in the Serie Nacional in his native Cuba with Cienfuegos where he won a batting title in 2021, Prieto defected and signed an international free agent contract with the Orioles that paid a $650,000 signing bonus.
Prieto made his professional debut in the United States in 2022, splitting the year between High-A Aberdeen and Double-A Bowie, batting .273/.314/.404 in 115 games with 11 home runs, 57 RBI and an OPS of .718.
This season, Prieto started the season in Double-A Bowie before being called up to Triple-A Norfolk on June 21. The Orioles then dealt him to St. Louis along with Drew Rom and Zack Showalter in exchange for Jack Flaherty.
In 101 games this season between Double-A and Triple-A, Prieto is batting .349/.383/.483 with an .876 OPS, nine homers and 68 RBI.
The Aguilas Cibaenas open the 2023-24 LIDOM season against the Gigantes del Cibao on October 19 at 7:30 p.m. ET at Estadio Cibao in Santiago de los Caballeros, Dominican Republic. All LIDOM games are streamed live on MLB.tv with a paid subscription.