This Cubs-Royals Trade for Whit Merrifield Could Actually Work

Kansas City Royals INF Whit Merrifield
Kansas City Royals INF Whit Merrifield / Jason Miller/Getty Images

The Chicago Cubs have struggled to find the right guy to fill Ben Zobrist's shoes. The veteran utilityman played in just 47 games last year, and after retiring in the offseason, he has left the Cubs in dire need of a versatile fielder and hitter.

There is one option open to them, though, and it comes in the form of Kansas City Royals star Whit Merrifield. If the Cubs are willing to pony up the right assets, they could land their second baseman and leadoff hitter of the future.

Whit Merrifield Contract Details

Merrifield is on what is undoubtedly one of the most team-friendly deals in all of baseball. The 31-year-old is due just $14.5 million over the next three seasons, and his contract includes a 2023 club option worth just $6.5 million.

That's not too shabby considering his production. Since 2017, Merrifield has posted an .801 OPS and stolen 99 bases, all the while leading the MLB in hits in each of the past two seasons.

Such well-rounded play would likely cost the Cubs rising star Nico Hoerner. The 22-year-old infielder is the No. 51 overall prospect in baseball. he showed flashes of brilliance during his brief debut in 2019 and has the potential to be everything Merrifield is and possibly more.

Adding in a catching prospect such as Ethan Hearn, the organization's No. 17 overall prospect, would be the last piece necessary to complete the deal.

As for the Cubs, they'd finally get the right man to replace Zobrist. Merrifield's bat and his flexibility to play both infield and outfield are just the fix for them. It may cost a highly-rated prospect, but that's a necessary sacrifice for a proven talent like Merrifield.