Blue Jays: Three second base options for the 2022 season
2. Whit Merrifield
A name that seems to be in trade rumors every offseason is Whit Merrifield. It’s pretty shocking that he’s still a Royal to be completely honest. The 32 year old is not coming off of his best season, but that could mean he’s easier to trade for. He has been on one of the best contracts in baseball after singing a four-year $16.25 million dollar deal in 2019. He is set to make just $2.75 million dollars this season with a $6.5 million dollar team option for next season.
Merrifield had a down year from his standards, but he was still awfully productive. He was a 3.6 bWAR player which is impressive for a “down year.” His 7.6 BsR ranked second in the American League. He stole 40 bases which led the American League in 44 opportunities. The Blue Jays top two base stealers in Bichette and Semien combined for 40.
Merrifield made his second career All-Star team, slashing .277/.317/.395 with 10 home runs and 74 RBI. He led the league with 42 doubles and 12 sacrifice flies. His WRC+ was a 91 which is not great, and is a result of him not walking very much or hitting for much power.
Merrifield being a 3.6 bWAR player even with an average year with the bat tells you everything you need to know about the complete player he is. He’s an elite defender. His 14 DRS at second base edged out Marcus Semien who ended up winning the Gold Glove for American League second basemen. Merrifield has also shown to be a capable outfielder if need be.
People say the greatest ability is availability, and Merrifield just doesn’t miss games. He played in all 162 last season, played all 60 in 2020, and all 162 in 2019. The last time he missed a game was in 2018 when he played in 158 out of 162 games. Merrifield can be relied upon to give at least an average bat, elite base running, elite defense, and a lot of versatility.
He won’t be cheap in a trade, but for a Royals team that is still rebuilding, the time to move Merrifield might be now. Adalberto Mondesi and Nicky Lopez are already in the Major Leagues with Bobby Witt Jr., one of baseball’s top prospects, not far behind. Even coming off of a down year, Merrifield’s value might be at it’s peak right now with just the one year remaining of team control.