3 biggest bargains currently on the KC Royals
By Shawn Bauman
It seems like every season Whit is moved to another position and yet he continues to produce on the field and at the plate regardless.
For a guy whose career minor league batting average was .274, his debut on the KC Royals at the age of 27 in 2016 was not expected to lead to big things. Whit Merrifield was a nice addition putting up decent, but not spectacular numbers.
In a full year in 2017, however, Whit exploded with his still career-high 19 home runs and 34 stolen bases (which led the league). His versatility, which is still on display, was huge as he played every infield position but short and every outfield spot except center…which is ironically where he is projected to fill most days in Kansas City for 2020.
His stats really took off in 2018 as he batted over .300 for the first time and stole another league-leading 45 stolen bases. Merrifield also had more hits than anyone in baseball, a feat which he duplicated in 2019. Pulling that off is a rare occurrence, especially for a right-handed batter.
How much has this cost the Royals? For 2019 he earned a whopping $1 million. In the offseason, Whit did sign an extension for four years for just over $16 million and for 2020 his salary will be $5 million. Still, one heck of a bargain for a guy who plays every day, hits for average, has speed and can play almost anywhere in the field.