NEW YORK -- As Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline draws near, the Royals remain reluctant to move players with extended club control, and that news suits super-utility man Whit Merrifield just fine.General manager Dayton Moore has a few players he likely will try to move, those with expiring contracts such as
NEW YORK -- As Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline draws near, the Royals remain reluctant to move players with extended club control, and that news suits super-utility man Whit Merrifield just fine.
General manager Dayton Moore has a few players he likely will try to move, those with expiring contracts such as Mike Moustakas and Lucas Duda.
But over the last few weeks, Moore has indicated a desire to hold on to players who are under club control for years to come. Moore reiterated those comments in a text to MLB Network on Friday, specifically about Merrifield while the utility man was being interviewed on the Network.
Royals officials believe players such as Merrifield, Danny Duffy and Salvador Perez could help usher in the next wave of young talent.
Merrifield, who is 29 and under team control for four more years, is honored he could be seen as a leader when the club is a contender again.
"It's nice to know that," Merrifield said inside the visiting clubhouse at Yankee Stadium on Friday. "It definitely makes me feel good. It makes me feel good that I've finally earned that role. And if the next few days come and go and I'm still here, hopefully I can work toward fulfilling that goal.
"I also feel like, in a few years, I'm just not going to be some old guy leading the young guys. I think I'll still be able to play and to perform at a high level when we contend again."
Merrifield doesn't think the rebuild will take as long as some have projected.
"I know Dayton well enough to know how much he values winning and that he will shorten this window as quickly as possible, rather than wait five or six years [with a lot of losing and high picks]," Merrifield said. "He wants to put the best team possible on the field under the circumstances. It's not always going to work for any team, but we have faith that he is going to have a contending team as quickly as possible."
Merrifield said he was grateful for players such as Eric Hosmer and Jarrod Dyson when he broke into the Major Leagues in 2016.
"[Hosmer] took me under his wing in terms of how to play the game, what pitchers do in certain situations, how to play on the field," Merrifield said. "Dyson was more about teaching when you get to the ballpark, how you conduct yourself around town, how to dress, how you talk to older guys. That was pretty cool.
"[Dyson] was great. My first road trip in Chicago, and at the end of the series when you tip the clubbies, [Dyson] just came up to me and handed me $500 and said, 'Give this much to this guy, this much to that guy,' and so on. That's just who he was. I think people saw a different side of him, the loud guy in the clubhouse, but he had a different side [as a leader], too."
Jeffrey Flanagan has covered the Royals since 1991, and for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter @FlannyMLB.