Report: Phillies have interest in INF/OF Whit Merrifield
The Phillies more or less have extracted themselves from the possibility of trading for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, but that doesn't mean they don't have interest in trading for other players, perhaps for a lower price.
The Phillies have been connected to a couple of Kansas City Royals recently. One is third baseman Mike Moustakas, and the other now, according to MLB Network's Jon Morosi, is utility fielder and current 2B Whit Merrifield.
Merrifield might be a little easier option for the Phillies to trade for than Machado, as the problem with a deal on that trade was that Baltimore's asking price was "too high" according to MLB Insider Mark Feinsand.
The Royals utility man is having a successful first couple months for the team, despite a lowly overall record. Merrifield is slashing .290/.359/.414 with a .772 OPS. He currently has five home runs, 26 RBIs, and 16 stolen bases. He's currently sitting at a 2.2 WAR for Kansas City.
Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic says that the Milwaukee Brewers are also interested in Merrifield's services via trade.
The 29-year-old's biggest quality is his defensive ability to play almost any position on the diamond. During his three-year big league career, Merrifield has only played 31 innings of third base, but he's still able to do it, even if it's not his best position. He would offer flexibility on defense, as well as speed on the basepaths, and contact hitting at the top of the lineup. While he lacks the star-power Manny Machado has, he would undoubtedly improve the Phillies right now.
He currently has a career fielding percentage of .985 with 16 errors in 1,070 chances over his three major league seasons.
Contract-wise, Merrifield is still under team control through the 2019 season, before he hits arbitration in 2020.