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Free agent Whit Merrifield reportedly expected to reach a contract by the end of the weekend

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Photo credit:Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Cam Lewis
1 month ago
It looks like Whit Merrifield will have a new home soon.
According to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi, the 35-year-old veteran has had five teams express interest in signing him over the past few days and he’s expected to agree to terms with one of them by the end of the weekend.
The three-time All-Star hit the free-agent market for the first time in his career this winter, as the Blue Jays unsurprisingly opted not to pick up his $18 million mutual option for the 2024 season in favour of a $500k buyout.
Merrifield was selected in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB Draft by the Kansas City Royals and broke into the big leagues with the club in 2016. He quickly established himself as an everyday player and led the American League in stolen bases in 2017 and 2018 and in hits in 2018 and 2019. Between 2019 and 2021, Merrifield didn’t miss a single game and led the league in at-bats each season.
In January of 2019, Merrifield avoided arbitration with the Royals and agreed to a four-year, $16.25 million contract. Ahead of the 2022 season, one year before Merrifield was set to his free agency, he and the Royals restructured the contract to feature a $2.75 million base salary with $4 million in games-played escalators in 2023 and the aforementioned mutual option for 2024.
Merrifield wound up only playing a few months of that new contract in Kansas City, as the Royals moved him to the Blue Jays ahead of the trade deadline in 2023. Heading back the other way were pitcher Max Castillo and infielder Samad Taylor, who are both now playing in different organizations.
The Blue Jays got solid production and positional versatility out of Merrifield over his year-and-a-half with the team. He posted a .274 batting average over 722 plate appearances in 2022 and 2023 and also contributed 16 home runs and 27 stolen bases. He was named an All-Star in 2023 after a strong start to the season and was among the finalists for the AL’s Utility Player Gold Glove.
When the Blue Jays added Isiah Kiner-Falefa this winter, a right-handed hitter who plays every position on the diamond, it became clear that Merrifield wouldn’t be coming back. It’s uncertain which five teams are interested in the veteran utility player, but the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago White Sox have been mentioned as possibilities over the past few months.

ARTICLE PRESENTED BY BETANO

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