Right now the Red Sox' best option at second base is Christian Arroyo. Considering the impression he left in September, the team certainly might have found something in the 25-year-old.
But the potential opening has led to some intriguing paths for Chaim Bloom.
There is, of course, the strategy of going after free agent D.J. LeMahieu, who MLB Trade Rumors projects will get a contract of four years, $68 million. That will not only cost the Red Sox a good chunk of change (which they might want to be saving for pitching or outfield help), but also their second pick in the 2021 MLB Draft and $500,000 in international bonus pool money.
There is another intriguing option the Red Sox would be smart to look into: Whit Merrifield.
Merrifield is viewed as a valuable chip for a Kansas City team that is most likely eyeing 2022 more than 2021, with the 31-year-old under team control at an extremely team-friendly deal. (He makes $6.75 million in 2021, $2.75 million in 2022 and $6.5 million in 2023.)
There is certainly a thought throughout the industry that the Royals would listen on the second baseman/outfielder. And with that in mind the Red Sox should be calling.
Defensively, Merrifield is a good fit. There is not only the option of locking down the second base spot, but he actually played more games in the outfield last season (51) than he did in the infield (15). The year before he split time between the two.
If you want to prioritize Merrifield in a lefty-hitting-heavy outfield (particularly if they re-sign Jackie Bradley Jr.), go ahead. The righty hitter has a career .311 batting average left-handed pitching, although he can certainly handle himself against either arm (.295 career batting average).
And get this: Like LeMahieu, Merrifield's a leadoff hitter, having manned the lineup's top spot more than any player in baseball over the past three seasons.
Now, understand, there will be a price to pay. The guess here is that price would be outfield prospect Jarren Duran (and probably another piece). Duran lines up with the Royals' timetable and one of their immediate needs.
Sometimes it's worth it to invest in certainty. In the case of Merrifield, that would seem to be the case.