Chicago Cubs interested in trading for Whit Merrifield
The Chicago Cubs are looking for an upgrade at second base as well as a guy with a high contact rate after finishing second-to-last in the National League in that category last season.
Kansas City Royals utility man Whit Merrifield checks both boxes.
According to Jon Paul Morosi of MLB.com, the Cubs are showing “continued interest” in trading for Merrifield this winter.
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 is one of the more coveted assets in the league because of his affordability (from a money perspective) as well as his effectiveness. The 30-year-old hit over .300 and led the majors in base hits for the second consecutive season. Not to mention, he has stolen at least 20 bases in each of the last three seasons.
The Cubs naturally should have interest in Merrifield. He plugs multiple holes and is the prototypical leadoff guy that they have been missing since the days of Dexter Fowler.
However, a deal seems rather difficult. The Royals are in a position of leverage because of Merrifield’s contract, and they are going to demand numerous premium assets in return.
Similarly, the Cubs are looking to stay in contention while also repositioning and adding pieces for the future. Acquiring a soon-to-be 31-year-old in exchange for top prospects or even the likes of Willson Contreras or Kris Bryant does not seem wise.