Padres contemplating paying hefty price tag for Merrifield

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Credit: AP Photo

Reports indicate that the San Diego Padres have aggressively been pursuing Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals. The price tag for the infielder/outfielder is sure to be steep, but the Padres can pay the asking price.

There is no doubt that the San Diego Padres and their young general manager are prepared to make a splash this winter.

The Padres are linked to many players and one name that has popped up a few times in Whit Merrifield. The Royals’ most valuable player is reportedly not available for trade, as indicated by the team several times- but that has not stopped Preller.

Kansas City is in a re-build and is attempting to retain Merrifield to help lead the young players. Preller is well-aware that the Royals desire to keep Merrifield, but he also understands that he has resources that could be extremely valuable to the small market team. Prospects and young cost-controlled talent could very well entice the Royals to rethink their stance on not dealing Merrifield.

At this point, the price tag for Merrifield would be extremely high.

The Royals have made it known that nothing short of a king’s ransom will get them to part with the right-handed hitter. The Padres will need to move a top prospect even to get talks started. Names like Luis Patino and CJ Abrams would most likely be who the Royals ask for to headline a trade.

The Padres have the depth to move talent like Abrams or Patino, but they must be sure of the value they are getting from Merrifield.

There are no guarantees in the game of baseball, and Merrifield comes with some risk. The late-bloomer is 30 now but will be 31 when the season starts in March. He is not a young player by any stretch of the imagination. He is, however, in the prime of his career, and that might be precisely what the Padres seek. He owns a career .296/.344/.445 slash line in his four-year career. In 2019, his first All-Star season, the former 9th-round pick, recorded a .302/.348/.463 batting line with a .811 OPS. He slugged 16 homers and stole 20 bases for the Royals, providing a rare combination of power and speed.

Preller is well aware of what Merrifield brings to the game. He is a top of the order type player who can play all over the diamond. The fact he can play all three outfield positions, as well as first base and second base, is precious to the Padres. He is a plus defender at second and has shown great skill in the outfield as well, though I would not pencil him in centerfield every day.

Merrifield produced a WAR number of 9.5 in the last two seasons. He is due to make $14.5 million in the next three seasons with a chance at making $4 million more in bonuses. He then has a $10.5 million team option for the 2023 season or a $750,000 buyout. That is ridiculously inexpensive, so there is no financial risk involved with Merrifield. If the Padres plan to compete in the coming years, a player like Whit Merrifield will go a long way towards completing the team’s championship aspirations. The asking price will be very high, but the Padres are in no position to argue. You CANNOT play all the prospects, and sooner or later, most will lose their lofty value. It may be time to pay the price for Merrifield.

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Alan Alan Steve
Alan Alan Steve
3 years ago

So you know what AJ is contemplating? Based on what, Mark Feinsand and Ken Rosenthal? Its their job to speculate deals and dump information into the public. Teams can ask all they want. Fans of other teams only see system 30, Top 100s but mostly Gore and Patino. It says to me they dont know this minor league system at all. There is no Wander Franco, Ronald Acuna, Vlad Jr. This system is top 3 because of depth from top to bottom and the amount of pre 22 yr. old 45FV players they have to develop. Front Offices are aware and know there is plenty of depth past the top 4 everyone wants in every deal, no matter what player it is. Settle down, and be happy AJ is sticking to his word that each player has a known value and he must get that to trade them.

If any of you have an Athletic subscription, Dennis Lin put out a a piece all should read. Merrifield talks arent new and the teams disagree on value. While it could happen, its not likely. Got to believe that’s because what AJ is willing o give up doesnt match what Dayton feels he has to get to move Whit. Houston was able to get Verlander, Cole and Greinke without giving up their top 3 prospects in any deal. It can be done.

3 years ago

Yes, but Whit is no Cole, Verlander, or Grienke. And he is on the wrong side of 30. A couple of non top 10 prospects, perhaps, but KC could get more elsewhere.

3 years ago

Do NOT trade Gore, Patino, Campansano, Abrams, Tatis, Paddack, Lamet or Mejia. These prospects should be untouchable! We want to get to the WS and win the darn thing! Let the kids play and learn! While Merrifield is a very good player, we should not trade any more of our prospects for players whose best years are behind them! We already have Kinsler, Profar and Myers! We needed a pitcher to help the young staff but Preller says he is excited about his starters. Okay. We love the young kids! Now stop, unless you are bring in a true game changer, trading our future for a one year hope to win 81 games in 2020.

3 years ago

I agree with TommyT, etal. This off-season has been a complete disaster. Preller is so desperate to keep his job that he is making bad decisions for the short and long-term. Thanks Fowler for your big mouth.

Just look at the potential lineup…who is hitting clean-up or fifth now that all of our home run hitters have been foolishly traded away. Tatis, Pham, and Machado at the top of the order is great, but thereafter we have absolutely nothing in the way of bats.
The first base situation is not going to change…stop bashing and just accept the bad deal
The second base situation only grows worse by the day. Why in the world did we pick up Profar and now we are going after another 2nd basemen. This is absurd.
Short-stop looks great, let’s see an entire season, not just 80 games.
Third-base is not going to change. I love Machado, but he has to bounce back in his 2nd year
Stop with Hedges bashing…if we are looking to “build” an elite pitching staff with Paddack, Gore, Patino and a host of other “potential” big-leaguers, then why wouldn’t you want the number one defensive catcher in the league behind the plate. Hide him in the 8th position in the lineup and tell Meija to either fix his defense or hit the road.
Let’s give Meyers one more year to prove is worth…he has been screwed with for three years…no wonder he seems left-out. Give the kid a chance to redeem himself.
We have now 3 “potential” Center Fielders…come on make up your mind who is going to play the position.
Right field is going to be Tommy Pham if he stays healthy…lot’s of luck on this one.

All in all, this is not a championship team, but rather a cellar dweller. Preller has to be let go now before he trades away the farm.

3 years ago
Reply to  TSquared

The first base situation can and should change. Hosmer should play roughly 50%, or less, and only against RHP’s. If he still stinks then bench him even more.

3 years ago

I would prefer to give them a king’s ransom of expendables than top talent (Which, in theory, they may prefer too).

Something involving 3 or so of: Quant, Naylor, Weathers, Davies, Fuego, Miller, France, Margot
All MLB ready
All with talent+room to improve
All with lots of control

And then throw in hedges since they have catching problems.

If they really need a top end, Trammel. Not Abrams/Patino pleaseeeeeeeeeeeee

3 years ago
Reply to  BK

If I am the Royals I would take Naylor, Miller and Quantrill or Weathers. If I am the Padres not sure I want to make the deal though.

Tony C
Tony C
3 years ago

AJ is in desperation mode. He’s been told by Fowler to win now or lose your job!

So, Preller doesn’t care if he decimates the farm to keep his job. Poor leadership from owners equal poor leadership below. I can see the scenario where AJ overpays with ALL our top prospects for two years of 85 wins. Then, no prospects, no money for salaries and we return to 10 more years of last place rebuilding.

Add the new second baseman of our future, opps I mean two years, then figure out where you’re going to play all the second basemen you already traded for. How much are we paying the one we could have gotten for free a couple days after the trade? Oh yea, 5M for this year!

We can all be proud of the SD leadership though… we won the “best farm in the league” award! That buys you squat! Just like with AJ… we’ve got squat!

Fowler… do what you do best and walk away from baseball decisions! Trade AJ for a 35 year old prospect first!

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