Tuesday, April 23, 2024
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Phillies sign Whit Merrifield

The Phillies have signed utilityman Whit Merrifield to a one-year contract with an option for 2025. To make room for Merrifield on the 40-man roster, right-handed pitcher Kaleb Ort was designated for assignment.

President of Baseball Operations David Dombrowski made the announcement.

Merrifield, a three-time All-Star, played 145 games for the Toronto Blue Jays last season, batting .272 (149-547) with 27 doubles, 11 home runs, 67 RBI and 66 runs scored. He also ranked in the 85th percentile in sprint speed at 28.8 feet per second, which was his best mark since 2018 (29.0 ft/sec). Defensively, he appeared in games at second base (84), left field (81) and right field (6).

An eight-year veteran, the right-handed Merrifield has posted a .284/.330/.420 career slash line with 247 doubles, 26 triples, 90 home runs, 470 RBI and 280 walks. Among the 67 active players with at least 4,000 plate appearances, his 722 strikeouts are the seventh fewest. Defensively, he has appeared in 718 games at second base, 181 at right field, 119 at left field, 88 at center field, 15 at first base and six at third base.

Since making his major league debut in 2016, the 35-year-old Merrifield ranks third among all players in stolen bases with 201, trailing only Trea Turner (258) and Starling Marte (225). In that span, Merrifield and Turner are the only two players in MLB with at least 200 steals, 500 runs and 1,000 hits. In his 1,004 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, he has slashed .295/.351/.459 (.810 OPS) and among the 67 active players with at least 1,000 plate appearances with runners in scoring position, his .295 batting average ranks 15th.

The Florence, S.C., native was originally selected by the Kansas City Royals in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB Draft and spent parts of seven seasons with the club before being traded to the Blue Jays during the 2022 season.

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