Royals send Merrifield to Blue Jays

Posted: 02/08/2022 in MLB
Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Kansas City Royals traded second baseman/outfielder Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for right-handed pitcher Max Castillo and infield prospect Samad Taylor, the clubs announced Tuesday.

Merrifield was placed on the restricted list during the Royals’ recent trip to Toronto in mid-July due to his vaccination status.

“This is a very fresh acquisition,” Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said when asked about Merrifield’s vaccination status, according to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, adding that the team will “let him work through that (decision) with his family.”

The Blue Jays don’t play a game in Toronto until Aug. 12.

Merrifield, 33, is in the midst of a down year but has been considered one of the league’s better contact hitters and led MLB in hits in both 2018 and 2019. The two-time All-Star is batting .240/.290/.352 over 95 games with six homers and 15 steals.

He led baseball with 42 doubles last year and has paced the AL in stolen bases in three different seasons, including 2021.

The utility man is owed $2.75 million in 2023 and has an $18-million mutual option for 2024.

Castillo, 23, made his MLB debut this year, posting a 3.05 ERA and 4.42 FIP across 20 2/3 innings in two starts and seven relief appearances.

Taylor, 24, has played second base, left field, and shortstop this year in over 70 games at Triple-A Buffalo. The 2016 10th-round pick is hitting .258/.337/.426 with nine homers and 23 stolen bases.

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