8. Mets trade target Whit Merrifield
I'm not sure where in the order he'd hit with Brandon Nimmo and Starling Marte projected to hit at the top of the Mets lineup, but the Mets would be foolish to not call the Royals and ask about Whit Merrifield.
Again, the Mets struggle mightily with injuries. Jonathan Villar was supposed to be a utility infielder who'd be a good bat off the bench and spell guys who need a day off. He ended up playing in 142 games, third most on the team. Kevin PIllar was supposed to be the fourth outfielder. He played in 124 games, sixth most on the team.
The Mets need players they can rely upon to stay healthy. There is nobody more reliable in that regard than Whit Merrifield. The 33 year old played in all 162 games this past season, all 60 in 2020, and all 162 in 2019. The last game Merrifield missed came back in 2018. That season he played in 158 out of 162 possible games. The guy just flat out doesn't miss games. That has a ton of value.
Merrifield is also on one of the better contracts in the game. He is set to make $2.75 million dollars this season and has a team option for $6.5 million dollars next season, an option that the Royals (or potentially the Mets) will surely pick up.
Merrifield is coming off his worst offensive season since 2016 as he had just a 91 OPS+. However, he still hit 42 doubles and stole 40 bases in 44 attempts, a 91% success rate which on that many attempts is very impressive. His OPS+ was so low because he just doesn't walk very much so when he hits below .300 it's hard to keep that number high.
The low OPS+ doesn't mean Merrifield wasn't a productive player. He was an all-star for the second time in his career. He'd provide the Mets with plenty of things they're lacking. He's a guy they can rely upon to play every single day. He's very versatile, can play all three outfield positions well in addition to second base. He's also another guy along with Starling Marte who can steal bases with the best of the best in the game.
Merrifield contributes with the bat and on the base paths at a high level. He's also an exceptional defender. He posted 14 DRS at second base in 2021, a number higher than the American League Gold Glove winner Marcus Semien.
Merrifield is versatile, and can do it all. He's going to play every game at a high level and is on one of the better contracts in the game. This allows the Mets to move Jeff McNeil for a pitcher if they want, or Merrifield can play the outfield with Mark Canha filling in as the DH. Merrifield might not be the perfect fit, but he's too good of a player on too good of a contract for the Mets to ignore. You can never have enough good players, especially with the Mets injury history.