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Royals GM J.J. Picollo talks details of Merrifield trade

Kansas City Royals v Houston Astros Whit Merrifield
Posted at 11:26 PM, Aug 02, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-03 00:26:11-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It was a quiet MLB trade deadline day for the Royals until the final moments before the clock struck 5 p.m.

"It really came down to the last hour or so before we were able to land on a deal that we were happy with," said Royals General Manager J.J. Picollo.

Whit Merrifield, who had been the subject of trade rumors the previous few years, got dealt to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for minor league 2B/OF Samad Taylor and RHP Max Castillo, who made a start against the Royals on July 16.

"There's depth coming from behind Whit that allows us a little more freedom to make moves moving forward," Picollo said in reference to the timing of the move.

Of course, the location of the move matters, too. Canada doesn't allow unvaccinated entry into the country. Although injured at the time, Merrifield would have missed the Royals vs. Blue Jays series in July due to being unvaccinated.

Toronto still made the move anyway. Picollo didn't elaborate on whether Merrifield had or would be getting vaccinated.

"The conversations that we had with Toronto, I'm going to keep private," Picollo said. "There's no need for me to talk about a player that's with another team right now when it comes to something like that."

Around that series in Toronto, Merrifield was quoted as saying he would consider getting vaccinated if it meant a shot at playing in the MLB playoffs, which irked Royals fans as well as team president Dayton Moore.

Picollo said the trade had nothing to do with those comments.

"I think our actions show how it did not," Picollo said. "We could have probably moved Whit pretty quickly, but we felt like Whit's value was that we should wait to get the best return that we could."

The move, along with dealing Cam Gallagher to the Padres on Tuesday, caps a busy last month of transactions for the Royals.

"When we look back, we traded five players who were on our 40-man roster, we traded a comp (compensatory) pick and we were able to acquire 12 players," Picollo said.