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Versatile Merrifield on Phillies' radar

MLB.com @jonmorosi

The Phillies have moved on from Manny Machado, for now, because of the Orioles' high asking price, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

One name the Philadelphia front office is pursuing instead: Royals super-utility man Whit Merrifield.

The Phillies have moved on from Manny Machado, for now, because of the Orioles' high asking price, according to MLB.com's Mark Feinsand.

One name the Philadelphia front office is pursuing instead: Royals super-utility man Whit Merrifield.

Sources say the Phillies have shown interest in Merrifield, a potential All-Star who probably has the most trade value of any player on the Royals' active roster.

Merrifield, 29, has a .772 OPS in 83 games this season. He's especially valuable because of his defensive versatility and contractual status, since he is not eligible for free agency until after the 2022 season.

In part because of his experience as a player with the Rays, Phillies manager Gabe Kapler has an appreciation for players who are capable of defending at multiple positions around the diamond. Merrifield is the contemporary archetype of that ideal, as the only player in the Major Leagues to start at least five games at first base, second base, center field and right field this season.

Merrifield is currently most comfortable at second base -- his primary position in Kansas City this season. But he was an outfielder at the University of South Carolina, and has said center is the position that comes most naturally to him.

Due to Merrifield's defensive abilities, he is an ideal fit for the National League. The Brewers are also among the teams pursuing him, according to MLB Network insider Ken Rosenthal.

Jon Paul Morosi is a columnist for MLB.com.

Philadelphia Phillies, Whit Merrifield