The KC Royals face tough trade, no-trade decision

(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports)
(Mandatory Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports) /
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KC Royals, Whit Merrifield
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Does Whit Merrifield have any desire to be traded away from the KC Royals?

Whit Merrifield doesn’t control his fate. He has no “10 & 5” rights, which means he has no CBA-based power to veto trades. And there isn’t any reason to believe he has a personal contractual right to reject deals.

But what Merrifield wants may carry some weight with management. What if, hypothetically, Merrifield no longer likes being a Royal? The franchise values loyalty and happy players, so Merrifield with a case of baseball wanderlust is a viable trade candidate.

Merrifield hasn’t publicly expressed any discontent, so no hard evidence suggests he wants out. Could he be blamed, though, for some frustration with the current sorry state of the only team he’s ever played for?

Or about his position in the club’s financial pecking order? There’s a case to be made (and has been since 2020) that, despite the four-year deal he agreed to in late January 2019, he’s underpaid. Yes, the club probably restructured its financial arrangements with him in part to increase his compensation, but is he really worth only the $16.25 million minimum value of the deal? Should he be miffed by the more lucrative $25 million contract KC gave now-underperforming Hunter Dozier before this season even began?

The answers to those questions are “Yes” and “Maybe.”

Merrifield is, day in and day out, Kansas City’s best and most valuable player. He’s probably just fine with Salvador Perez recently signing the biggest contract in Royals’ history, a four-year deal worth at least $82 million, or around five times the minimum value of Merrifield’s contract. Perez, after all, is the franchise.

Merrifield can’t be blamed, however, if Dozier’s deal, worth almost $9 million more than his own, made him wonder. After all, he’s has been far better for the KC Royals than Dozier, although time may ultimately (but probably won’t) prove Dozier the better player.

But if Merrifield is unhappy, he’s hiding it well. Presume, then, that he’s content where he is and isn’t pushing a trade. That’s important if KC wants to keep him.