The Milwaukee Brewers could be searching for upgrades in the middle infield this July. One such name they are interested in is Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals.
According to Ken Rosenthal, the Milwaukee Brewers had interest in acquiring Whit Merrifield last offseason, as we predicted. Their interest has not gone away and they continue to have talks with the Royals about their breakout second baseman.
Merrifield was just in Miller Park this past week when the Royals came to town and the Brewers had an opportunity to get a good look at him. They must’ve liked what they saw as they placed at least one call to Royals GM Dayton Moore.
According to Rosenthal, the Brewers have not discussed Royals lefty Danny Duffy in discussions with Kansas City yet, and the talks are focused on Merrifield.
How is Merrifield doing this year?
He’s having another solid season. Merrifield is hitting .284/.358/.401 with four homers and 16 stolen bases. His power is down a bit from the numbers he put up last year, but playing in Miller Park can change that state of affairs pretty quickly. What he lacks in home runs, he makes up for in doubles, knocking 23 two-baggers this season, tying him for eighth in the league.
Merrifield is also being more patient at the plate this year, drawing 30 walks in 339 plate appearances. Last year, Merrifield drew only 29 walks in 630 plate appearances.
What does Merrifield’s contract look like?
Extremely cheap. Merrifield still has another year before he finally hits arbitration in 2020. He won’t be a free agent until after the 2022 season, making him controllable for the next four and a half seasons.
That long term control lines up with the contracts of Lorenzo Cain and Christian Yelich. Brewers GM David Stearns loves getting guys with control and is more willing to pay the price to acquire players if he can keep them for multiple years.
What would it cost to acquire Merrifield?
Merrifield is not going to be cheap. A really good contributor up the middle of the field with several years of long term control is going to cost a lot in terms of prospects.
The return package likely has to start with Keston Hiura. Fans may not want to hear it, but if the Milwaukee Brewers are going to add Merrifield at second base for the next four and a half seasons, there’s not going to be a spot for Hiura. Similar to how Lewis Brinson was dealt for Christian Yelich, the player coming back blocks the prospect anyways. Might as well trade him.
It’s going to take Hiura and several other top prospects in the Brewers system. It shouldn’t take Corbin Burnes or Freddy Peralta though. Merrifield will only bring back one headliner and it will probably be Hiura.
Acquiring Merrifield would require a lot from David Stearns, but this is a long term fix at a position that hasn’t had one in quite some time.
Negotiations will be ongoing, but trading for Merrifield will take a bite out of the Milwaukee Brewers crop of minor league prospects.