Bleacher Report's free agency prediction for Red Sox could foreshadow trade

Sep 1, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Whit Merrifield (15) fields the
Sep 1, 2023; Denver, Colorado, USA; Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Whit Merrifield (15) fields the / Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

Bleacher Report's Tim Kelly has offered another intriguing free-agent candidate for the Boston Red Sox. Previously, Bleacher Report suggested the Red Sox may end up with former Blue Jay Matt Chapman on their roster. Now, another former Jay is on the table.

Kelly has posited that utility player Whit Merrifield would be a good fit for Boston.

At first glance, Merrifield doesn't make a ton of sense for the Sox. He's a natural second baseman and, with any luck, Boston has just found its long-term second baseman in Vaughn Grissom, the return from the Chris Sale trade with the Braves.

But Merrifield is a versatile defender who has experience all over the diamond. He could play second, shortstop, or even third base along with any of the outfield slots.

Bleacher Report suggests the Red Sox could benefit from signing free agent Whit Merrifield

The Red Sox need another outfielder to fill in on anyone's day off or in case of any injuries. Merrifield could fulfill that role in the outfield. He could help in the infield too, and with current shortstop Trevor Story's injury history, a bit of insurance won't hurt Boston.

Merrifield also offers a veteran presence that some of the outfielders who remain on the free-agent market don't have. After losing Justin Turner, Merrifield's experience from his eight years of MLB service would do the Red Sox clubhouse good. MLB Network's Matt Vasgersian and Ron Darling heralded Merrifield as "a culture guy" who would bring mental and physical toughness to any clubhouse. After everything that's happened with the Red Sox this offseason, they could surely use a spark of winning culture in the locker room.

The one thing Merrifield doesn't have that Boston lacks is a powerful bat. The Red Sox have been in the hunt for a strong right-handed bat for the middle of the order. Although, they clearly don't care about said need very much, considering Jorge Soler signed with the Giants after being available for three months.

Merrifield tends to hit for average and boast defensive versatility. He's a career .284/.330/.420 hitter and hasn't appeared in fewer than 139 games in a full MLB season since his debut year in 2016.

Boston has four true outfielders currently on its radar in Adam Duvall, Tommy Pham, Randal Grichuk and Michael A. Taylor. Merrifield's upside may be better than any one of these players due to his defensive versatility.

But before the Sox signed any of them, they would have to make space on the 40-man roster through a trade or by designating someone for assignment. A trade seems most likely at this point considering Boston has a lot of players currently on the trade block — Jarren Duran, Kenley Jansen, Chris Martin and John Schreiber are all available, per reports.

The Red Sox should seriously consider bringing Merrifield on for the coming season. He's not exactly what the Sox were looking for, but he may be even better. Just expect a potential impactful roster move to follow, likely in the form of a trade.

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