The Blue Jays told reporters, the second baseman said: Whit Merrifield Became a free agent (Reported by The Athletic’s Caitlin McGrath). Both sides declined to terminate the $18 million mutual option in his contract. Merrifield raised a $500,000 buyout and will head to the public market for the first time.
Toronto acquired Merrifield, who will turn 35 in January, from the Royals before the 2022 trade deadline. It was a bargain price for the two-time hitting leader, who at the time boasted a .240/.290/.352 line. Merrifield turned things around in Canada, hitting .281/.323/.446 down the stretch. He carried that into the first half of the year, posting a .286/.342/.392 slash and securing his third career All-Star selection.
Unlike in 2022, Merrifield did not perform well in the second half. After August 1st, he was hitting .212/.250/.288, but his overall season performance was still respectable. He finished the year with a batting average of .272/.318/.382 and 11 home runs in 592 at-bats. He stole 26 bases while getting thrown 10 times.
Merrifield has excellent contact skills and is one of the best players in a weak class of free agent middle infielders. He’s definitely the top second baseman right now. The White Sox are reportedly targeting him, and teams like the Red Sox, Mariners and Pirates could be in the market.
The Jays could also remain in the bid. Cavan Biggionewcomer davis schneider and Otto Lopez This is an in-house option. They certainly aren’t going to offer Merrifield a salary approaching $18 million a year, but they could probably sign him to a two-year deal for less. Jean Segura Last winter, he earned a two-year, $17 million guarantee when he finished the show on his .277/.336/.387 platform.