Royals deal two-time All-Star Whit Merrifield to Blue Jays

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(610 Sports) – The Kansas City Royals have dealt two-time All-Star Whit Merrifield to the Toronto Blue Jays, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post.

In return, the Blue Jays are sending a pair of players to Kansas City, in relief pitcher Max Castillo and IF/OF prospect Samad Taylor.

Castillo, 23, is a big 6-foot-2, 280-pound right-handed pitcher who made his big-league debut with the Blue Jays in June of this year. In nine appearances with the team (two starts), he's tossed 202/3 innings of nine-run ball (seven earned) and has a 3.05 ERA in those frames. He's also allowed four home runs and 15 total hits while striking out 20 and walking just five during that span.

At the time of the trade, Taylor was listed by MLB Pipeline as the Blue Jays' No. 16 prospect. In 70 games at the Triple-A level this season, the infielder/outfielder is slashing .258/.337/.426 with nine home runs, 45 RBIs and a 102 wRC+.

Merrifield did not travel to Toronto for a series last month because he is unvaccinated against COVID-19.

He later apologized for "poorly articulated" comments about the vaccine, after suggesting that he might get vaccinated if he were to be traded to a playoff contender.

In 95 games this season, Merrifield is hitting .240 with six home runs, 42 runs batted in and a .643 OPS.

The native of Florence, SC had spent the entirety of his seven-year career in the majors with the Royals.

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