Trading for Whit Merrifield would give the Padres a steady presence at second base and a legit bat in the lineup through 2023.
Aside from the catcher position, second base has arguably been the biggest black hole on the Padres roster. Jurickson Profar has lacked in the hit department, and while Jake Cronenworth’s start is impressive, he’s yet to prove longevity.
With the trade deadline just over two weeks away, we continue looking at potential trade targets. Today, we’re focusing our efforts on a guy who’s led the league in hits in each of the last two seasons. Whit Merrifield is one of the more underrated second basemen in the big leagues, and it’s likely because he doesn’t put up gaudy power numbers.
But he’s a sure .300 hitter from the leadoff spot, which would also allow the Padres to move Fernando Tatis Jr. down in the order for more run-producing opportunities. Merrifield turns 32 in January, and he’s under an extremely team-friendly contract through the 2022 season with a club option for 2023 as well.
The Royals are in the thick of their rebuild, and they’ll have to make a decision on Merrifield within the next couple of years, based on the state of their franchise anyway.
The Florence, South Carolina native already has a .293/.357/.507 line with four home runs and 12 RBI through the first 19 games. He’s extremely versatile in that he can play the outfield as well, which could provide a natural segway for Grisham moving to left field when Tommy Pham becomes a free agent.
The Padres have an abundance of outfielders, and the Royals have two black holes on the roster in Bubba Starling and Brett Phillips. I have the Royals acquiring Taylor Trammell in this deal to slide into an everyday role with the closest top outfielder prospect being Erick Pena, who is projected to reach the big leagues in 2024.
And with Merrifield on the roster – and CJ Abrams coming too – the Padres have no place for Cronenworth, who could immediately fill the void left by Merrifield. The Royals have one of the best shortstop prospects in Bobby Witt, Jr. coming soon, and Adalberto Mondesi is not molding into his prospect projections.
Baseball Trade Values gives this trade a dead even 32.70-32.70 rating, giving both sides a fair shake out of this particular deal.