Dodgers: Whit Merrifield is the Perfect Fit in Los Angeles
Since 2008 the Dodgers have had 9 different players as their everyday second baseman. Making someone stick and be productive at the position has proven to be difficult. Yet again in 2018 second base is an issue. Luckily, I think there is a solution not only for this year but for next few years and he plays in Kansas City.
From 2008-2017 the only player to record more than one season as the everyday second baseman was Mark Ellis in 2012 and 2013. Other than him it was one and done as the everyday starter. In order: Jeff Kent, Orlando Hudson, Blake DeWitt, Jamey Carroll, Mark Ellis, Dee Gordon, Howie Kendrick, Chase Utley, Logan Forsythe.
Entering 2018 it looked like Forsythe was going to come in and produce, but that has just not been the case with his injuries and inconsistent play. Utley was the backup plan, but he can’t hit left-handed pitching and has not aged very well. With Forsythe no longer on the books after this season and his awful start, it is time to find his replacement.
The Dodgers traded the player that everyone thought would be the second baseman of the future when they acquired Yu Darvish in exchange for Willie Calhoun. Now not only do they have an immediate problem, but they also have a future problem.
How should the Dodgers address that situation? I’ve got a suggestion
He is currently slashing .281/.352/.411 with four bombs and twelve stolen bases. Not only does he check the box of being an everyday second baseman for 2018 but he checks many more boxes that it just makes too much sense for the Dodgers to acquire him.
Other than being the 2018 everyday second baseman, he can be the future second baseman for the next few seasons because he is under team control until after the 2022 season. He also solves he dilemma the Dodgers currently face at the leadoff spot in the lineup. Roberts has had a revolving door at the first spot in the lineup, but acquiring a bonafide table setter would solve that issue.
Merrifield has Dodger written all over him. He plays multiple positions and we all know just how much the Dodgers brass love players who can play more than one position.
On top of how well he fits on the field, he also fits within the financial constraints that the front office is trying to work through. He is due to make under 1 million dollars this season so he fits perfectly and gives them wiggle room to improve elsewhere.
All sounds good on the Dodgers side, but why would the Royals trade a .280 leadoff hitter under a team friendly contract for 4 more seasons after this year?
The Royals will be fighting for the worst record in the bigs this season. They are looking to rebuild and trading whatever talent they do have will help the rebuild finish quicker. Whit Merrifield is 29-years-old and by the time they are able to compete again, he’ll likely be in his age 33-34 season.
The Royals also have a top middle infield prospect named Nicky Lopez who is tearing it up in Double-A and looks ready for a call-up anytime soon. He is 23 and currently hitting .339 in the minors. If the plan was to move Merrifield to the outfield once Lopez is ready to move up, that will not work either because two of the top three prospects in their system play outfield.
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So, in reality, they could keep him but they do not need him and would be better off acquiring prospects from the Dodgers. Now that’s the big question. What or rather who would it take to get Whit Merrifield to the Dodgers.
For a team like the Royals with so many needs, quantity over quality might work better. A package of “B” prospects would be better for their rebuild rather than targeting one top prospect to head a package.
Verdugo, Buehler, Ruiz, and Kendall are off the table for a player like Merrifield. A package like Mitchell White, Matt Beaty and Drew Jackson might be enough to get the deal done. If they want Forsythe to be a stopgap for the rest of the season the Dodgers would be glad to him to include him and maybe add another prospect or two as a thank you for taking on his contract.
If they really want a blockbuster, the Dodgers could target both Merrifield and Kelvin Herrera and kill two birds with one stone in the same deal. That obviously would take a top prospect or two in order to get the job done. But for now, I would be happy with just getting Merrifield.
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He fits this team perfectly. They would finally get steady production out of second base, a legitimate leadoff, another versatile piece and all of this would be accomplished while staying well under the cap. Now it is just time to wait and see if the front office can get the deal done.