The Case for Whit Merrifield

What Should the Phillies do for the Rest of the offseason? There are many different answers to this simple question. Some want us to get Japanese Phenom Yoshinobu Yamamoto to go along with Zack Wheeler, newly re-signed Aaron Nola, Ranger Suarez, and either Taijuan Walker or Christopher Sanchez. Some want us to get Josh Hader to solidify the closer role for years to come. And some like myself, don’t know. Sure, I’d love Yamamoto, Hader, or in a more unrealistic sense, Shohei Ohtani, but I have a couple of concerns: 1. As I stated with Ohtani, how realistic are the chances we sign any of these guys? Hader will most likely sign the biggest contract for a reliever ever and Yamamoto not only is going to command big money but has also said that he would like to play with other Japanese players, which the Phillies don’t have. Heck, the Phillies have never signed a Japanese player straight from being posted, only after they’ve been established big leaguers. Plus I’m not sure the Phillies are keen on spending a boatload of cash this offseason with Zack Wheeler entering the last year of his deal and needing to be resigned. So let us assume the big fish are out of the picture for the offseason. Who is someone that the Phillies can target that is a cheaper and more realistic option?

Whit Merrifield

Whit Merrifield could be an excellent utility man off the bench this season. He’s played 2nd base the most in his career but has 365 games in the outfield and to a lesser degree, 15 games at first base however it should be noted that he did play there in 2022 so he’s not too far off from playing there. Offensively he has been known for being a hits machine, leading the majors in hits in 2018 and 2019, and has been a very consistent player for his career hitting 272/318/382 with a 700 OPS last season in 145 games. He’s a 3-time all-star who is entering his age 35 season which could be a little nerve-wracking for some people but he doesn’t have to play as the Phillies have lots of outfield depth with Marsh, Cave, Rojas, Pache, and Castellanos (assuming Schwarber is full-time DH next year). He also can provide some speed on the basepaths as he has led the AL 3 times in stolen bases; 2017,2018, and 2021 and this past season he stole 26 bags and got caught another 10 times giving him a percentage of 72 for the year. Jim Bowden of the Athletic also said recently that he thinks that the Phillies are a great fit for Whit. All in all, he would be a great addition to this Phillies team for the season.