The KC Royals need to trade Andrew Benintendi and Whit Merrifield soon.
The major league trade deadline is 11 days away. In an ideal world, deciding what to do with Andrew Benintendi and Whit Merrifield would be easy.
But today, Kansas City’s is an imperfect world. Although the club has improved lately, it’s still a last place team beleaguered by unreliable pitching, frequent poor play, and the taint of an unfortunate vaccination controversy. And Benintendi is playing out his contract while Merrifield is having the worst offensive season of his career.
It’s time to trade them both.
Benintendi’s is the easiest case; the notion of him re-signing with KC is fantasy. Despite his vaccination status, which prohibits him from playing in Toronto, his Gold Glove defense, .317 average and .386 OBP will keep demand for him high, so the Royals need to move him to secure an adequate return before he becomes a free agent.
Merrifield’s situation is a bit different. Kansas City has resisted all previous temptation to move him, but he’s slashing an utterly un-Merrifield-like .240/.292/.343. There’s also the vaccination issue—Merrifield is unvaccinated and compounded the problem with a statement suggesting he might vaccinate if he played for a contender, which met with swift but split fan and media reactions.
What effect that statement might have on Merrifield’s Kansas City future remains to be seen, but it won’t be cited as a reason he should stay. He needs to be dealt while he has some trade value left.