MLB.com’s Jon Morosi reports that the Royals and second baseman Whit Merrifield are nearing an agreement on a four-year contract extension. The deal will be worth $16.25 million with an additional $2 million available through performance incentives, Morosi adds.
Merrifield, 30, becomes eligible for salary arbitration after the 2019 season, so the extension would cover all three arbitration-eligible seasons before he can enter free agency.
Last year, Merrifield was one of the best players in baseball, batting .304/.367/.438 with 12 home runs, 60 RBI, 88 runs scored. He led all of baseball with 192 hits and 45 stolen bases. Defensive metrics also rated him highly. Per FanGraphs, Merrifield ranked 16th among qualified position players in WAR, tied with the Braves’ Freddie Freeman at 5.2. 2.0 WAR is considered average.