UTIL Whit Merrifield
The year of 2023 has been a game changer for Whit Merrifield. Prior to this season, many believed that Merrifield was heading towards father time after he posted his career worst numbers with his former team the Kansas City Royals in 2022. Even after his trade to the Jays at the trade deadline last year, he wasn’t providing much production other than a sudden two-week outburst near the end of the season that helped propel the Jays to a playoff spot. In doing so, the Jays were willing to give Merrifield a chance to show himself this year by putting him into the role as a utility man, covering second base and the outfield when needed.
Not only has Merrifield flourished in that role so far in 2023, his solid play and contributions ensured that he was back being an everyday player for the team, as he appears rejuvenated and back to his All-Star form. For the season, Merrifield has a .300 batting average, .750 OPS, 29 runs scored, two home runs, 25 RBI and has been a threat on the basepaths with 16 stolen bases. With his speed and positional versatility, Merrifield will no doubt be an attractive trade target if he is made available at the deadline, while providing the Jays with some good assets in return. His potential huge impact could be similar to what former MLB player Ben Zobrist did when he joined the Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs, leading each of them to a World Series Championship and Zobrist getting MVP honours in doing so with the Cubs in 2016. But for that very same reason, it’s probably to the Jays’ best interest to do anything they can to retain him.