Mike Matheny: Merrifield trade is 'an opportunity' for younger players to 'step up'

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The Royals shook things up during Tuesday's trade deadline by sending longtime stalwart Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays. The move, while perhaps unsurprising, signaled the beginning of a new era of sorts, as the team will no longer have the top-of-the-lineup hitter that they've come to grown used to on a nightly basis over the last decade. While speaking to 610's Fescoe In The Morning on Wednesday, Royals manager Mike Matheny talked about how the move will reshape the team both on the field and in the clubhouse.

"I think there's always that situation where the conversation turns into, 'All right, now what?'," Matheny said. "Who's going to take that role? Whether that's on the field, or whether that's being a voice. You talk about a guy that was very much a voice, especially here recently as we went through all the negotiations. He was the rep for the players union, so he was the guy always keeping everybody in the loop. So that's going to be somehow filled. And then on the field, we were very clear of the fact that Whit was a catalyst on this offense. We used him a lot on that leadoff spot because it seemed like when he went, the rest of the offense went as well. He did a great job in a lot of different ways. What it represents is an opportunity for a lot of the young guys to step up ... "

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