The Kansas City Royals could have arguably received their largest return for Whit Merrifield at the trade deadline but chose to hold onto him.
Dayton Moore may have made a mistake that could eventually come back to haunt the Kansas City Royals. At the trade deadline, Whit Merrifield was drawing significant interest from the Chicago Cubs, Atlanta Braves, and Philadelphia Phillies but informed them it would take a significant haul to part with the 30-year old.
"“It’s hard to predict. You know, Whit is somebody that, you know, I think we gave away two or three Whit Merrifield autographed balls today. I mean, the players, the young people in our community identify with Whit. That’s really important for us. He’s, I believe, one of the best players in all of baseball right now. So, I mean, the ask would be just crazy.” – KSHB"
Merrifield was the Royals ninth-round draft pick in the 2010 MLB Draft and decided he needed to bulk up to sustain the dog days of a 162-game schedule during the 2016 offseason. Through diet and exercise, Merrifield added 20 pounds of muscle and saw his hard work pay off the following season.
In 2017, he slashed 0.283/0.323/0.392 with 19 home runs and 78 RBI’s. It was quite the jump from his 2 home run and 29 RBI season in his rookie season the previous season, albeit he played in just 81 games. Despite adding more weight, Merrifield managed to steal more bases as well, with his career-high coming last season (45).
However, Merrifield will be 31 when the 2020 season starts and could have brought back some nice prospects to help with the rebuild this year. In approximately three weeks, the Royals season will be over and Merrifield will have quietly put up another All-Star caliber season for the third consecutive year.
He was the lone representative for the Royals in Cleveland this year and is on track to lead the American League in hits and games played. It’s all about the future right now and Merrifield could be in his mid-30s before the team is competitive again. Certainly, Moore could still unload him next year if he’s producing like he is. You just have to hope that he’s not on the wrong side of 30 in 2020.