Two-time All-Star second baseman Whit Merrifield has been caught in some controversy recently after revealing his stance on the COVID-19 vaccine, as well as stating that he “may be more willing” to get the vaccine if he were on a playoff contending team.
The Kansas City Royals have certainly not been a contender so far this season, currently sitting in the basement of the AL Central with a 36-57 record on the year.
Merrifield is clearly frustrated with the team’s success so far this year, but he discussed his prior comments with reporters on Friday and said that his words were “poorly articulated”.
“I’m sorry that I poorly articulated the point I was trying to make,” Merrifield said via The Associated Press. “It’s an uncomfortable topic and I started rambling on and trying to make a point about my passion for winning that had no relevance to the topic that was being discussed. For that I am truly sorry.”
Early on in Merrifield’s career with Kansas City, the team had experienced much more success than they have had in recent years, which seems to be wearing on him.
“I didn’t say people misunderstood it, I poorly articulated the point I was trying to say,” Merrifield added. “If what was standing between me and the playoffs was this vaccine, I would consider getting it. I didn’t say I would get it for another team, or wouldn’t get it for this team, it was simply a point about showing how much I value playing in the playoffs.”
Kansas City notably had 10 players miss the trip to play the Toronto Blue Jays in Canada before the All-Star break due to their vaccination status, which included Merrifield along with another potential trade target across the MLB in Andrew Benintendi.
It remains to be seen if these comments will impact the team’s plans for the Aug. 2 MLB trade deadline, but the Royals would likely have some suitors if they tried to part ways with Merrifield given his track record of being an All-Star caliber player in the right situation.