Option One: The return of Whit Merrifield
For Whit Merrifield, he has certainly re-established his career since coming over from the Kansas City Royals at the trade deadline in 2022. At one point in time last season, it appeared as though Merrifield was heading towards father time, as he was amidst his worst season of his career prior to the trade.
But since making his debut with the Jays, he has appeared to regain some of his prior dominant All-Star form from his early days in a Royals’ uniform, and provided the offensive spark that was greatly needed in the Jays’ lineup.
With a mutual option in his contract with the ballclub, it seems possible that both sides could exercise their option and keep Merrifield with the team for a little longer. However, the fact that he got less playing time near the end of the season due to his struggles, as well as losing his starting spot for the playoffs completely did not sit too well with him.
Moreover, Merrifield clearly showed his displeasure with how things were handled when Jays’ starter José Berríos was lifted during the most important game of the season despite dominating the opposition for the entire game right up until that point in time. That bitter feeling has also stuck with him deeply as he would reiterate his stance and expressed his thoughts and emotions once again even a week later on the Foul Territory Podcast.
Not only that, but apparently Merrifield has already drawn some interest around the league even before he has even stepped his foot into free agency, so he already knows that he is highly-valued and a wanted man in the league.
As a result, it is highly unlikely now that Merrifield will remain with the Jays’ organization for 2024 and will most likely move on to another team that he believes to be a good fit for him. Nevertheless, he did provide the necessary impact in helping the ballclub reach the postseason for the second consecutive season as we wish him all the best and thank him for his efforts.
Verdict: Not going to happen