More details emerge about Whit Merrifield’s new contract with the Phillies

New details about Merrifield's agreement with the Phillies came into focus on Friday night after initial reports of the veteran's new deal.

More contract details emerge about the Philadelphia Phillies' newest addition Whit Merrifield
More contract details emerge about the Philadelphia Phillies' newest addition Whit Merrifield / Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports
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The Philadelphia Phillies finally made headlines late Friday afternoon, agreeing to terms with free agent Whit Merrifield. After the deal was initially reported as a one-year, $8 million contract, more details about the newest Phillie's deal have emerged.

The contract is indeed a one-year agreement, which will see the 35-year-old utilityman suit up for a legitimate World Series contender in 2024. However, the base salary is $7 million for this season, but the deal also includes a club option for 2025, with a $1 million buyout if the Phillies don't bring Merrifield back next season, as outlined by The Philadelphia Inquirer's Alex Coffey.

So Merrifield gets a guaranteed $8 million and a chance to make a deep playoff run with the Phillies, a team that has been to the World Series and National League Championship Series in back-to-back years.

If the Phillies do pick up the option on the contract, Merrifield will earn $8 million in 2025.

According to MLB insider Ken Rosenthal, the deal includes a bonus and awards package, with a maximum value of $16.6 million over the two years.

How will Whit Merrifield add value to the Phillies roster?

The eight-year veteran will fill multiple holes in the Phillies' already veteran-laden roster. Able to play all over the diamond, Merrifield spent most of his time at second base and in left field last season with the Toronto Blue Jays.

While the Phillies don't have a pressing need at any of the infield spots in 2024, having a capable bat off the bench to give the regulars a day off here and there will be invaluable over the course of a long 162-game season.

The Phillies' outfield situation is far from settled, and Merrifield provides manager Rob Thomson with added insurance in that regard. Johan Rojas still has to prove his bat in spring training. Brandon Marsh, recovering from arthroscopic knee surgery, isn't guaranteed to hit left-handed pitching although the team hopes he can improve. Merrifield can easily slot in as a left field option for Thomson.

Last year in Toronto, the right-handed hitting Merrifield slashed .272/.318/.382 in 592 plate appearances, with 67 RBI, 11 home runs, and 26 stolen bases.

The former ninth-round pick of the Kansas City Royals has always had good plate discipline and bat-to-ball skills. According to Baseball Savant, he had a 19.5 percent whiff rate (82nd percentile), a 17.1 strikeout rate (81st percentile), and a 37.2 percent sweet spot percentage (81st percentile) in 2023. He also offers plus baserunning, with an 85th percentile sprint speed of 28.7 ft/s.

If Merrifield performs up to his abilities, the Phillies' 10th player will hopefully contribute to another deep playoff run, and the team will likely pick up the $8 million option for 2025. For now, we'll just wait for him to show up in Clearwater and get to work with his new team.

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