The clamor to trade Whit Merrifield may be loud. The club must not listen.
It’s a familiar refrain, a midsummer and winter tune sung by many but never rewarded.
Trade Whit Merrifield, the song goes. Deal him away at the trade deadline or in the offseason, before it’s too late and age robs him of his high market value.
So far, the KC Royals have been wise to ignore those recurring external cries, and would be mistaken to give in to the temptation to move one of their best players this offseason.
Why? Statistics aren’t necessary to prove he’s too valuable to a franchise on the verge of contending again; while catcher Salvador Perez is the club’s backbone and most valuable player, Merrifield is a uniquely versatile player who consistently performs well no matter where Manager Mike Matheny chooses to play him. As his 468 consecutive games played streak proves, he shows up every day ready to play.
He’s also a consummate professional who lets his bat and glove do the talking. His is the kind of example the KC Royals’ bevy of hot prospects need, and will need, as they continue to arrive in Kansas City. He is, in every sense, a model Royal.
At this point in club history, Merrifield needs to stay.
J.J. Picollo’s first winter as Kansas City’s general manager will be worth watching. There are mistakes he mustn’t make.