One of the names that was connected to the Chicago Cubs leading up to the 2019 MLB Trade Deadline was Kansas City Royals utility man Whit Merrifield. Although a trade was never completed, Merrifield was an ideal solution for the Cubs’ struggles at second base as well as leadoff hitter.
Now this offseason, the two are being connected again.
MLB.com’s Jon Morosi wrote in his latest rumors article about Merrifield and the chances he’s moved this offseason. He wrote that the Cubs have continued to check in on Merrifield this offseason and are showing “continued interest”. Here is what Morosi wrote:
MLB.com’s Jon Paul Morosi reports that Chicago is showing “continued interest” in trading for Merrifield, who just completed the first season of the four-year, $16.25 million extension he signed with Kansas City at the beginning of 2019. Merrifield remains cheap even after signing that extension (he’ll make $5 million in ’20), and the Cubs could be in the market for a middle infielder to slot next to Javier Báez.
Merrifield, 30, continued to be an accomplished hitter at the plate (Major League-most 206 hits and 10 triples) and versatile in the field this year, logging 77 games in the outfield along with 82 at second base. He’s also a consistent contact hitter, which is a skill the Cubs generally lacked during their 2019 offensive struggles.
Merrifield could be the Cubs’ big splash this offseason and would certainly improve those two areas that continue to be a big need for the Cubs. With Ben Zobrist’s status uncertain for next year, the Cubs need to find a solid middle infielder to pair with Kris Bryant, Javier Baez and Anthony Rizzo in the infield. The 30-year-old Merrifield is a career .296/.344/.445 hitter.
This will be something to monitor as the off-season rumors pick up.