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#pounditFriday, March 1, 2024

Royals GM trashes Whit Merrifield over vaccine comment

Whit Merrifield looking on

Jul 13, 2021; Denver, Colorado, USA; American League second baseman Whit Merrifield of the Kansas City Royals (15) looks at the stands during warmups before the 2021 MLB All Star Game at Coors Field. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Ten Kansas City Royals did not make the trip to Canada for a 4-game series against the Toronto Blue Jays due to their COVID vaccine status. The worst part for team president Dayton Moore, however, is what one of the players had to say about the decision.

Royals infielder Whit Merrifield was among the players whose vaccination status prevented him from traveling to Toronto. The utility man on Wednesday defended his decision, but made a revelation that upset Kansas City.

Merrifield caused a bit of an uproar by saying he had no plans to get the vaccine, but that might change if he were traded to a contender that might face the Blue Jays in the playoffs.

“That’s the only reason I would think about getting it at this point, is to go to Canada,” Merrifield said. “That might change down the road. Something happens and I happen to get on a team that has a chance to go play in Canada in the postseason, maybe that changes.”

Moore was asked about Merrifield’s remarks on Thursday and he did not hold back. Moore said on Soren Petro’s radio show on Sports Radio 810 WHB in KC that he was “disgusted” with Merrifield’s remarks.

“I was disappointed. Truthfully I was disgusted,” Moore told Petro.

Moore may have been commenting on what Merrifield said in general, but the remark about possibly taking the vaccine if traded would infuriate anyone. Merrifield is one of the longest-tenured Royals and a team leader. For him to say there are certain playoff-related circumstances where he might get the vaccine indicates he does not feel the Royals are worth that compromise. He’s saying the games he’s playing in right now don’t have as much value to him.

No, the 35-53 Royals are not going to be a playoff team, but Merrifield’s willingness to put it in the terms he did sends a bad message.

Merrifield’s comments might make it less likely for him to be traded to a contender. That could be the case for one of his teammates as well.


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