Dodgers Trade Rumors: Whit Merrifield Drew Interest

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The Los Angeles Dodgers have created separation in the National League West standings and trail only the New York Yankees for the best record, but president of baseball operations Andrew Friedman can be considered unlikely to stand pat come the MLB trade deadline on Aug. 2.

While it’s not every season Friedman has completed a blockbuster Dodgers trade, he has always been part of some activity, even if it was addressing the margins of the roster. Given the rash of injuries, Friedman is presumed to have interest in addressing the Dodgers’ pitching staff.

However, they have been linked to Brandon Drury in trade talks with the Cincinnati Reds. And according to Jon Heyman of the New York Post, the Dodgers mulled a potential Whit Merrifield trade with the Kansas City Royals as well:

The Dodgers have looked at Whit Merrifield, whose 553 consecutive-game streak was halted by a big toe injury the day before it would have been halted due to hitting the restricted list as the team went to Toronto.

Similar to Drury, Merrifield plays second base, the outfield and bats right-handed. Thus he would help bring some balance to a Dodgers lineup that is heavy on left-handed hitters. However, Merrifield has started 43 of 84 games at second base.

That would require Gavin Lux to spend more time in left field, which remains a work in progress for the former top Dodgers prospect.

Merrifield has yet to meet the same level of production from a 2021 All-Star season, as he’s batting .240/.292/.343 with 18 doubles, five home runs, 36 RBI and a 78 wRC+ this year. The Royals signed Merrifield to a four-year, $16.25 million contract prior to the 2019 season.

However, the Royals restructured Merrifield’s contract this year, increasing his 2022 salary from $2.75 million to $7 million. Merrifield’s 2023 salary is $2.75 million with $4 million in performance bonuses; that season was originally a $6.5 million team option.

The 33-year-old now has a mutual option for 2024, which is $18 million and includes a $500,000 buyout.

Whit Merrifield among unvaccinated Royals players not in Toronto

Merrifield made headlines this week due to being among unvaccinated Royals players who were placed on the restricted list and unable to travel for a road series against the Toronto Blue Jays.

Hunter Dozier, Andrew Benintendi, Michael A. Taylor, Kyle Isbel, MJ Melendez, Cam Gallagher, Brad Keller, Brady Singer and Dylan Coleman also were placed on the restricted list. The group of players won’t be paid and forfeit service time for the duration of the series.

Merrifield is days removed from having a consecutive games played streak snapped at 553 due to a bone bruise and ligament swelling in his big toe. Prior to Monday, he had been in the Royals’ lineup for every game since June 24, 2018.

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