Royals Rumblings - News for August 4, 2022
J.J. Picollo discusses the trade of Whit Merrifield to Toronto.
“I think it’s more of a reflection of where our organization is right now,” Royals general manager J.J. Picollo said. “There’s depth coming from behind Whit that allows us a little more freedom to make moves moving forward. So that was a main contributor.
The last couple years. We can call them transition if we’d like to. But his versatility, whether it was second base, the outfield, all the things that he could do for us always allowed us to have flexibility to give opportunity to guys who were ready to play in the major leagues. Now, we’re at a point in our system with a long of young players that the competition is getting tighter. And we just looked to capitalize on a player that had value in this game. We felt like we were able to do so today.”
Picollo talks about the return from Toronto, saying Max Castillo could stick as a starter, and Samad Taylor was a guy that had kept an eye on.
“He plays the style of game that we like,” Picollo said. “He’s athletic, got quick twitch to him. We do have some people that feel like, with his speed because he’s a plus runner, he could potentially go to the outfield. That’s something we’ll continue to discuss.
“I don’t know if we’ll get him on the field by the end of the Minor League season. Once our medical staff gets their hands on him and makes their assessment… we’ll have a better idea of where he’s at in his rehab. We’ll just have to figure out what’s best for him, and if he misses the rest of the season, that’s OK. This is more of a long-term acquisition for us.”
Sam McDowell looks at Whit’s legacy in Kansas City.
Merrifield was a bright spot, often the only bright spot, for an organization that has been quite lousy since he became a regular. He literally went years without taking a night off, breaking a team consecutive games played streak, injuries be damned. Over a five-season span from 2017-21, he collected 38 more hits than anyone in baseball. He ranked second in steals over that time frame. Fifth in doubles and 14th in triples.
The city adopted him as one of its own.
And then it felt stung by his words. That’s why it felt stung by his words.
Patrick Mahomes wrote a farewell to Whit.
Justin Choi at Fangraphs thinks the Royals got pretty good value.
If the return for a name like Merrifield appears light, consider the fact that not only is he 33 years old but also in the midst of an offensive slide dating all the way back to 2019. From a trade value perspective, the one aspect that worked in the Royals’ favor is his contract, which keeps him on the Blue Jays for an additional year. It’s also dirt cheap, even for a diminished version of Merrifield. As a result, the Royals are collecting not just one, but two prospects with legitimate intrigue. These aren’t just warm bodies used to package trades, in other words.
That the Royals didn’t get a big name here — which is not disrespect to Max Castillo, who should pitch big league innings right away — it shows that they should have traded Merrifield at least three years ago.
The Blue Jays are letting Whit decide if he wants to get vaccinated.
Josh Vernier at 610 Sports says the Royals were ready to move on from Merrifield.
“The move of Whit Merrifield, to me, just reflects that the front office acknowledges what’s going on,” he said. “That the front office is aware of how that clubhouse needed to change, of how Whit Merrifield needed to go to a winner. Everyone was on board. Everyone knew what was going on inside that clubhouse. Everyone knew Whit Merrifield was ready to move on – the Royals were ready to move on from Whit Merrifield. That’s why I was going to be so very shocked if they held on to him, because just everyone was hip to what needed to happen for the betterment of this organization. Benny, Santana, you needed to move them. Whit Merrifield had to be moved.”
Cam Gallagher was emotional at being traded away from the team that drafted him.
“I’m neighbors with some of these guys in the offseason,” Gallagher said. “You know, it is what it is. I wish these guys nothing but the best, a lot of good friends in there.
“I’m close with a lot of those guys, coaches, front office. But it’s a business. I’m looking forward to this new opportunity. It’s a good thing at the end of the day. Just got to take it and run with it.”
Keith Law lists winners and losers at the trade deadline, with the Royals in the latter category.
The Benintendi trade felt like they may have chosen to get pitching rather than get the best package they could, and in the process sacrificed some value, taking three arms from the Yankees who might all end up in the pen, with just one of them, Beck Way, having a reasonable chance to start. The Whit Merrifield trade, by contrast, returned exactly what you’d expect because the right time to trade Merrifield was last year … or the year before that … or the year before that. The Royals held on to Merrifield until he passed his sell-by date, and suddenly the plastic container is bulging in a way that makes you afraid to untwist the cap.
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