Phillies' offseason roster addition grades: One big signing stands out above the rest

The Phillies made plenty of depth moves this offseason, but one free agent signing stands head and shoulders above the rest.

Utilityman Whit Merrifield was the Philadelphia Phillies' biggest offseason addition
Utilityman Whit Merrifield was the Philadelphia Phillies' biggest offseason addition / Rich Storry/GettyImages
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Whit Merrifield: A

Finally, we have the best Phillies offseason move: signing free agent utilityman Whit Merrifield. For someone who has been in the big leagues for the past eight years, along with being a three-time All-Star, Merrifield brings with him a boatload of experience and more veteran leadership to the clubhouse.

With the ability to play multiple positions and hit in any part of the lineup while playing well both offensively and defensively, he provides manager Rob Thomson and the Phillies with the utmost versatility heading into the 2024 season on how they want him to be deployed.

Last season, Merrifield resurrected his career with a strong season with the Toronto Blue Jays and helped them reach the playoffs. In 145 games, he batted a solid .272 with a .700 OPS, along with 66 runs scored, 27 doubles, 11 home runs, and 67 RBI. More importantly, he swiped 26 bases at the age of 34, showing that he still has the wheels to do damage on the basepaths.

This spring, Merrifield was everything the Phillies had expected of him and more. He has hit an astounding .405 with a 1.143 OPS, seven runs scored, six doubles, one triple, two home runs, seven RBI and a stolen base in 16 games. In the field, he started at second base, third base, and left field and was spotless in 79 innings in the field.

Despite Johan Rojas being named recently as the Phillies starting center fielder (subscription required), as reported by The Athletic's Matt Gelb, Merrifield may still end up in the mix. Rojas may be on a short leash after struggling offensively for most of the spring. With Merrifield’s strong preseason performance, there’s no way he should be kept on the bench, as Thomson will have to fit in the Phillies’ most prized offseason signing in the lineup any way possible.

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