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Royals, Whit Merrifield close to 4-year extension

Kansas City looking to lock up young 2B through arbitration years.

MLB: Kansas City Royals at Detroit Tigers Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Royals are close to signing stat second baseman Whit Merrifield to a four-year contract extension, according to Jon Morosi of MLB.com.

Morosi says the Royals have not “confirmed” the deal, but his source said Merrifield’s extension will put him under contract through his arbitration years. No financial details were mentioned in the deal.

However, Jeffrey Flanagan of MLB.com said a source told him that although Merrifield has not signed anything yet, the deal is “near the finish line” and the Royals may announce it soon.

The Royals want to lock up Merrifield and have him be the new face of the franchise after he had a breakout campaign in 2018.

In his third season in the big leagues, the 30-year-old right-handed hitter led the majors in hits (192) and stolen bases (45) while also finishing ranked first among all AL second basemen in WAR (5.5) and runs created (106.8). Merrifield, who has led the AL in stolen bases over the last two seasons, slashed .304/.367/.438 in 707 plate appearances across 158 games. To date, Merrifield has batted .293 and stolen 87 bases in 108 tries (81 percent).

If the deal gets done, the Royals will have a ton of speed in their lineup with Merrifield, Adalberto Mondesi and recent newcomers Billy Hamilton and Terrance Gore. Merrifield told Flanagan in early January that he thinks the Royals can have a team that steals close to 250 bases this year and generate chances to knock in a lot of runs as well.