Royals: Positional battle, Whit Merrifield on the move?

(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /
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Kansas City Royals, Chris Owings
(Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images) /

With two good options to play the spot, it’s unlikely the Kansas City Royals will want to look too deep into prospects for free agency for a second baseman.

Any prospects? 

The only prospect in the Royals system at the moment that would likely be “ready” (used loosely) to see some major league time, if needed, is Kevin Merrell. This observation, of course, is being generous. Merrell was brought over in a trade in 2019 that sent Homer Bailey to Oakland.

Merrell has never seen major league time, and while he has a history of batting well in the minors, his time at AA in 2019 didn’t impress. Merrell slashed .242/.287/.330 with 110 hits over 124 games, 47 RBIs and 2 home runs.

Defensively, Merrell is not likely at the level the Royals would like to see. He primarily plays shortstop but is listed as SS/2B. He only saw 2 games at second in 2019 and he kept a 1.00 fielding percentage over those 2, but over 117 games at shortstop, he held a .972 percentage.

Merrell could definitely be used if needed, but it’s unlikely he will see any major league time in 2020. At only 23 though, he has time to grow and refine his skills, giving him a better chance to one day make it to Kauffman.

Free Agents

Chris Owings is available.

Ok, now that that’s out of the way, there is likely no need to dive deep into the second base free-agent market. While there are some possibilities available, the Royals have what they need for the position, they just need to make some decisions.

While it can be assumed the person playing second will be either Whit or Lopez, it is a bit difficult at this time to say who will actually be at the spot full time. By default, many would probably be inclined to say Whit, but if the Royals decide to move things around, that may not be the case.

There are three most likely scenarios that can come out of this, and any of the three are very possible. First, Whit is moved to the outfield full-time (right or left, dependent upon Alex Gordon) and Lopez takes over at second base.

Second, Whit remains at second to start the season, and Lopez is kept as a bench player, likely seeing more time as the season progresses. Third and very possible, Adalberto Mondesi is not ready to return from surgery to start the 2020 season and Lopez is slotted to play shortstop while Whit remains at second.

Next. Wade Miley should get some consideration from Kansas City. dark

Second base is definitely locked down, but at the moment, the Royals have not made any inclinations as to “who” has it locked down. The positive is that either way the team moves forward with this, the future looks bright for second base in Kauffman Stadium.