Sources: Whit Merrifield, Phillies agree to 1-year contract

ByJeff Passan ESPN logo
Friday, February 16, 2024

Super-utility man Whit Merrifield and the Philadelphia Phillies are in agreement on a one-year, $8 million contract, sources told ESPN on Friday.

The deal includes a club option for $8 million with a $1 million buyout, sources said. His salary this year will be $7 million, and with bonuses, he can max out at $16.6 million over two seasons.

Merrifield, 34, earned his third All-Star selection last season with the Toronto Blue Jays, hitting .272/.318/.382 in his first full season with the team after being acquired in a 2022 trade with the Kansas City Royals. Merrifield, who twice led the American League in hits and three times in stolen bases, hit 11 home runs, drove in 67 runs and went 26-for-36 in stolen bases.

A late bloomer who didn't debut in the majors until after he turned 27, Merrifield was a stalwart for the Royals in the late 2010s, leading the league in at-bats three times as a leadoff hitter who drew few walks. While it ate away at his on-base percentage, Merrifield's bat-to-ball ability helped him to a career .284/.330/.420 line in more than 4,500 career plate appearances.

His ability to play multiple positions contributed to him posting at least three wins above replacement in each of the full seasons from 2017 to 2021. In 2023 with Toronto, he started 67 games at second base, 66 in left field and four in right field.

A ninth-round pick in the 2010 draft out of South Carolina, Merrifield signed a four-year, $16.25 million extension with Kansas City before the 2019 season. The Royals restructured the deal to guarantee the option year and add an $18 million mutual option for the 2024 season -- which Merrifield and the Blue Jays both rejected, leading to his free agency.