3 Blue Jays pending free agents who should be brought back and 1 who should not

As free agency approaches at the end of the season, who should the Blue Jays bring back and who should be let go?
Kevin Kiermaier, Whit Merrifield
Kevin Kiermaier, Whit Merrifield / Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
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Whit Merrifield

Entering the 2023 season, Jays’ utilityman Whit Merrifield was actually an unknown wild card for the team. In the previous season in 2022, Merrifield endured one of his worst years statistically in his career in which he hit .250, with a .673 OPS, 70 runs scored, 11 home runs, 58 RBI and 16 stolen bases. When the Jays acquired him at the trade deadline, it was an under-the-radar move that practically no one was expecting, since he appeared to be trending downwards in the latter half of his career.

At the start of this season, the Jays deployed Merrifield as their team’s super utilityman, as he found playing time at second base, along with spot starts in the outfield whenever needed. But to the surprise of everyone, he would be revitalized and regain his prior All-Star form seen from his earlier year with the Kansas City Royals. Not only has Merrifield got his stroke and speed back, but he has been one of the team’s main catalyst in their offensive production throughout the season and had secured a spot in the everyday lineup as a result.

So far for 2023, Merrifield has hit an impressive .289/.332/.410 with a .742 OPS, 60 runs scored, 23 doubles, 11 home runs, 57 RBI and 23 stolen bases. He has even maintained his hitting consistency despite being put in various spots in the batting order. He was also selected to his third All-Star game in his career in recognition of his accomplishments. With his positional flexibility, along with his valuable run production, it will be a no-brainer for the Jays to keep Merrifield beyond the 2023 season. Therefore, with the mutual option that they have, it will definitely be the right move for both to exercise their option and get it done so that Merrifield can remain a Blue Jay at least for another year.