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Mariners “making a push” to trade for Whit Merrifield, according to one report

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Could the Royals move their two-time All-Star?

Baltimore Orioles v Kansas City Royals Photo by Ed Zurga/Getty Images

The Seattle Mariners are “making a push” to trade for Whit Merrifield, according to reporters Mark Feinsand and Daniel Kramer of MLB.com. The Mariners are making a surprise run for a post-season spot after a two-decade playoff drought.

It is not clear that the Royals would trade their two-time All-Star, although Jayson Stark of The Athletic reported last week that the Royals are “more open than in the past” to trading Merrifield, writing:

The Royals, though, have told other teams they believe they are close to contention, and are signaling that they do not want to trade established major leaguers for prospects who might not join them for three or four years. That could make it difficult for them to match up with clubs that have expressed interest in Merrifield.

The Mariners have the second-ranked farm system in baseball, according to Baseball America, and third-best according to MLB Pipeline.

The Mets are another team interested in Merrifield, according to MLB Network reporter Jon Heyman, although he notes it is “highly doubtful” the Royals deal him. The Padres were in the market for a second baseman and had previously had talks with the Royals on Merrifield in past years, but acquired All-Star Pirates second baseman Adam Frazier on Sunday.

The Royals had previously taken the stance that they’d be open to listening to a trade offer made on anyone, but that they would have to be overwhelmed by a trade offer on Merrifield because of what he means to the team and the city. But Dayton Moore also said before this year that he needs to be more “transactional.” The emergence of Nicky Lopez and the setback in the standings this year could nudge Moore to finally dealing one of his most coveted players.

Merrifield is in a bit of a slump, hitting .188 over his last 16 games, but has enjoyed a fine season overall, hitting .272/.320/.401 with 8 home runs and 52 RBI. He is gunning for his third stolen base title, leading the league with 25 swipes this year, and he is tenth among all second basemen in WAR with 2.3, according to Baseball Reference. The 32-year old is in the third year of a four-year deal that will pay him $6.75 million this year, $2.75 million next year, with a $6.5 million club option for 2023.