Kansas City Royals star infielder Whit Merrifield has had his name thrown around in trade speculation ahead of the 2022 MLB trade deadline. So, when he left Sunday's game against the Guardians after the fifth inning, panic ensued among the fan base. Well, it turns out that Merrifield was not traded mid-game, but was instead removed due to discomfort in his toe, according to Jon Heyman, who clarified no transaction had gone down.

The 33-year-old had made two plate appearances on Sunday before being removed from the game. With the Royals out of playoff contention, a Merrifield trade remains possible, even if it didn't occur on Sunday.

The Royals are likely erring on the side of caution when it comes to their star infielder. Any injury to Merrifield could tank his trade value, making it more difficult to pull off a deal at the deadline.

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It's also wholly possible that Merrifield stays put, again, at this year's deadline. The veteran has been a mainstay in trade deadline rumors throughout much of his career with the Royals, yet he's currently in his seventh season with the team.

Merrifield's toe injury is also concerning for another reason. Kansas City's star second baseman has been active for each of the Royals' last 553 games, a streak dating back to the 2019 season. If he's unable to suit up Monday against the Tigers, that streak will come to an unfortunate end.

While Royals fans, and MLB fans alike, were quick to jump to conclusions after Merrifield's early exit, it seems it's nothing more than a toe injury that resulted in his early removal.