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.
The Padres have been trying to deal for Whit Merrifield, per source. The Royals have been very reluctant to deal Merrifield; here’s what Dayton Moore told KC beat writers on Monday. pic.twitter.com/ry6N9fiC1Q
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) December 10, 2019
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.