Projecting the Phillies' updated depth chart after Whit Merrifield signing

The newest Phillie will likely see his playing time split between left field and second base and as the first bat off the bench this season.
Philadelphia Phillies utilityman Whit Merrifield is projected to see most of his playing time in left field and at second base in 2024
Philadelphia Phillies utilityman Whit Merrifield is projected to see most of his playing time in left field and at second base in 2024 / Jason Miller/GettyImages

With the dust settling following Friday evening's big news of the Philadelphia Phillies' agreement with free agent utilityman Whit Merrifield, it's time to take a look at where the newest Phillie fits in the roster and where we'll see him this season.

If you missed the news, the deal was first reported as a one-year, $8 million contract, but we later learned that the Phillies and Merrifield agreed to a one-year, $7 million contract for the 2024 season. The deal includes an $8 million club option for 2025, with a $1 million buyout if the team opts not to bring the 35-year-old back, first reported by Foul Territory podcast.

So, Merrifield is guaranteed $8 million for the one year, but with the option and a $1.6 million awards and bonuses package could max out at $16.6 million over two years, per The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal.

Where does Whit Merrifield fit in the Phillies depth chart?

It's been well documented that Merrifield has played all over the diamond during his eight-year career, but really has played primarily two positions of late, splitting 2023 between second base and left field for the Toronto Blue Jays.

The three-time All-Star immediately becomes the 10th man in Philadelphia and the top bat off the bench. His competition includes Garrett Stubbs, who won't be going anywhere as the backup catcher, Edmundo Sosa, Cristian Pache, and Jake Cave. One of those last three will likely not be with the Phillies on Opening Day.

Philadelphia Phillies position player depth chart

Here's a look at the projected plate appearance depth chart for the top 13 position players, courtesy of FanGraphs:

1. Trea Turner, SS - 679 PA
2. Kyle Schwarber, DH - 665 PA
3. Nick Castellanos, RF - 637 PA
4. Bryce Harper, 1B - 630 PA
5. Alec Bohm, 3B - 616 PA
6. Bryson Stott, 2B - 581 PA
7. Brandon Marsh, LF - 546 PA
8. J.T. Realmuto, C - 513 PA
9. Johan Rojas, CF - 371 PA
10. Whit Merrifield, UTL - 378 PA
11. Cristian Pache, OF - 217 PA
12. Edmundo Sosa, IF - 168 PA
13. Garrett Stubbs, C - 109 PA

Merrifield is projected to get 378 plate appearances, but where will he find his playing time this season?

He's likely to spend the lion's share of his time in left field, lining up behind Brandon Marsh as the next option out there.

Philadelphia Phillies left field depth chart

1. Brandon Marsh
2. Whit Merrifield
3. Cristian Pache

It's interesting to note that FanGraphs still projects Kyle Schwarber to get almost 18 percent of the playing time in left, despite the fact that the Phillies have, on multiple occasions, said that he's not going to play in the outfield this season. So, we left him off this list.

Philadelphia Phillies second base depth chart

1. Bryson Stott
2. Whit Merrifield
3. Edmundo Sosa

As for the rest of Merrifield's playing time, he'll be the first option when manager Rob Thomson wants to give Bryson Stott a day off at second base.

Where else might Whit Merrifield play for the Phillies?

FanGraphs also projects Merrifield to see a little bit of time in other positions for the Phillies in 2024. He could see some time in right field, third base, and first base, but he won't be the second guy up at any of those spots.

Philadelphia Phillies right field depth chart

1. Nick Castellanos
2. Cristian Pache
3. Brandon Marsh
4. Whit Merrifield

Philadelphia Phillies third base depth chart

1. Alec Bohm
2. Edmundo Sosa
3. Whit Merrifield

Philadelphia Phillies first base depth chart

1. Bryce Harper
2. Alec Bohm
3. Whit Merrifield

We'll still have to wait and see how Thomson and his coaching staff elect to deploy Merrifield this season, and with injuries and underperformance, all of these projections will likely change as the six-month grind takes its toll.