We beat this dead horse in the offseason, but the Kansas City Royals just woke it up. The horse has risen. And now there’s a much more realistic possibility Whit Merrifield is traded before the July 30 deadline.
The New York Yankees have long been in search of a versatile defender who can hit for contact, steal bases, and bring the team’s overall strikeout numbers down. Well, it couldn’t be more clear the Royals need to capitalize on any asset they possess, because sitting dead last at 39-55 in a bad AL Central is … really bad.
Now, according to the latest trade deadline buzz per Jayson Stark of The Athletic, the Royals are “more open than in the past” to trading Merrifield, likely because of their situation, coupled with the fact they know trading him as soon as possible will net the biggest return.
He’s signed through the 2022 season and has a team option in 2023 for $10.5 million (and just a $750K buyout!). That mean’s he’ll cost a grand total of $3.5 million in 2022 and around the same amount for his remaining salary in 2021.
Before we get ahead of ourselves, “more open” doesn’t mean “happening.” And 89% of trade rumors are fodder for fun discussion each and every year … rarely do most of these scenarios we speak of come to fruition.
But we’re continually prisoners to things that “make sense,” and the Yankees giving the Royals an offer they can’t refuse (maybe throw in a reliever, too?) in order to keep their 2021 and 2022 windows open could tip the scales.
The Yankees should be all-in on Royals All-Star Whit Merrifield.
Though most of Merrifield’s work has come at second base, he can also play all three outfield spots. If he was a lefty, this would be absolutely perfect, but at this point maybe the Yankees are satisfied with one of Estevan Florial, Greg Allen or Ryan LaMarre to fill those shoes from that side of the plate.
Whatever the case, the Yankees cannot turn down the opportunity to acquire an aggressive contact hitter and the best base-stealer in MLB. Have you not watched the team over the last week? Look what aggression on the basepaths and speed on defense does. Changes the entire game.
The possibilities with Merrifield? Nearly endless. He can play every night and not disrupt the status quo. Put him at second, give Odor the night off, shift DJ to first. Put him in left full-time, say goodbye to Brett Gardner, and there’s your full outfield! Put him in center, plop Aaron Judge in right and Giancarlo Stanton in left (he can apparently start playing defense now). Juggernaut outfield!
The Yankees need to put more balls in play, be more aggressive on the basepaths, put forth stronger defensive efforts and strike out less. Merrifield does all of that. Pay the premium if this is possible.