Should the Seattle Mariners trade for Whit Merrifield?
There are not many players in baseball that would fit this Seattle Mariners team better than Whit Merrifield. A great athlete with plus defense at second and in center, and he fits the right-handed bat mold Jerry Dipoto seems to be searching for.
That being said, there are many reasons why Jerry Dipoto would be attracted to a player like Whit Merrifield. With news breaking about the Kansas City Royals fielding calls on him, should Jerry pull the trigger?
Could Whit Merrifield be the second baseman the Seattle Mariners are looking for?
First of all, Whit Merrifield is not a rental whatsoever. Under control till 2023, Whit fits the mold of a controllable player hopefully for the ascension of the Seattle Mariners. He fits what Jerry Dipoto has told the media multiple times perfectly, a right-handed bat who can play second base and that has team control beyond this season.
Another bonus to Merrifield is his contract. His contract was front-loaded, and he has a very minor hit in the coming years. The 32-year-old is making just over 6 million this season, 2.75 million next season, and 6 million again in 2023. This makes him a very affordable talent that would allow the Mariners to dump serious free-agent dollars this upcoming winter.
Perhaps the best part about White Merrifield is that the dude can flat-out hit. He has led the league in hits twice in his career and owns a .292/.340/.439 career slash line. The South Carolina product has the longest active games played streak at over 300 games in a row.
There is a lot to like about Merrifield and his fit on this team, but there are plenty of reasons for Dipoto to stay clear of him. He is 32 years old and will be knocking on the door of 35 by the end of his contract. That does not fit very well with the ages of the ascending players on the current Mariners roster.
Whit Merrifield has suffered from a little bit of a down year in 2021 by his standards. He is still having a pretty good year, but his Baseball Savant page shows plenty of deficiencies to his game. His exit velocities and hard-hit rate are both down the last two seasons, possibly signaling a decline.
Merrifield could be a very expensive addition for the Mariners. His salary may be cheap, but the Mariners would likely have to give up one of their top arms and a higher position player prospect to get him. If you have any doubts about his ability to produce into his mid-thirties, it is not worth it to give up prospects at this point of the rebuild.
Overall there is a lot to consider for Jerry Dipoto at this deadline. Reading between the lines, Merrifield seems like the exact type of player Dipoto would want to add to the team. As long as the Seattle Mariners do not sacrifice too much of their future to add him, he would be a really nice fit for this team.