Phillies trade rumor: Club interested in Royals INF Whit Merrifield

Another Royals infielder is catching the Phillies eye at the trade deadline

While not the most exciting name on the infielder trade market, or even his club, Whit Merrifield is generating trade interest from the Phillies, according to MLB Network’s Jon Morosi.

Playing in his third season for the Royals, Merrifield has been a super-utility player for Kansas City, playing at six different positions and all three outfield spots.

Last season Merrifield led baseball with 34 steals, and this year the 29-year-old has 16 for the Royals. In 84 games he’s hitting .290 with 25 doubles, five home runs, and 28 RBI.

Merrifield has a 2.2 WAR this year, which would be tied for second on the Phillies and lead all of their hitters. Last year Merrifield smacked 19 home runs for Kansas City, but his game has been getting on base and collecting doubles.

Merrifield is still under team control through next season before hitting three years of arbitration.

It’s an interesting name for Philadelphia to be looking at, and he could potentially be an option for the club if a Manny Machado/Mike Moustakas deal becomes too rich. He’s played 56 games at second base this year, but doesn’t help the void at third base.

Kansas City has been scouting the Phillies minor league system, but the assumption has always been that Moustakas would be the trade target.

Since losing utility-man Pedro Florimon and shortstop J.P. Crawford to broken bones, the Phillies have started Scott Kingery at shortstop and had rookie Jesmuel Valentin as their utility player.

If the Phillies are interested in both Moustakas and Merrifield, it could cost them Maikel Franco. It’s likely Franco gets traded if the Phillies make a move for any third basemen, whether Franco is in that deal or another.

Maybe Merrifield’s name has just come up in conversation and the interest isn’t all that strong, but it’s a good name for the Phillies to file away for the future.