Royals GM JJ Picollo explains reasoning for trading Whit Merrifield

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Yesterday's Whit Merrifield trade was the biggest move to date that signified that the Royals are changing directions. Though they traded Carlos Santana and Andrew Benintendi earlier in July, moving Merrifield – who had been in the lineup almost every day for over half a decade – proved that Royals GM JJ Picollo and the rest of the front office are serious about embracing their new wave of young players. While speaking to 610's Cody and Gold on Wednesday morning, Picollo talked at length about the reasoning behind the trade, and how it all went down.

"We had good discussions with Whit and what his thoughts were on where he was in his career," he said. "What his aspirations were, his desire to play in a playoff chase, or be apart of a playoff chase. At the same time, our messaging to Whit was that we understand that too, but we're not in the business of just giving talented players away. We knew there was going to be a market for Whit, simply because the teams that are competing to get into the playoffs need protection. And Whit's protection is second base, all the outfield spots, and he can even go to third ... We knew there was going to be value and there was going to be opportunity. What we didn't know is if we were going to get the return we wanted, because we were not going to trade Whit unless we got a return that we felt really good about. That materialized really late in the day. As far as where teams are actually going to go, we held off, we held off. And then eventually the deal we thought was clearly the best deal for us was Toronto."

You can listen to Picollo's entire interview in the embedded player below: