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Philadelphia Phillies officially sign Whit Merrifield, trade pitcher Kaleb Ort to Baltimore Orioles

A Gallen of Questions with Trea Turner, Bryson Stott, Whit Merrifield and Orion Kerkering
A Gallen of Questions with Trea Turner, Bryson Stott, Whit Merrifield and Orion Kerkering 21:40

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - The Philadelphia Phillies officially signed Whit Merrifield to a one-year contract with an option for 2025 Monday.

The Phillies designated right-handed pitcher Kaleb Ort for assignment to make room for Merrifield on the 40-man roster. Philadelphia claimed Ort off waivers from the Miami Marlins last week. Ort was traded to the Baltimore Orioles later Monday for cash.

Merrifield will wear No. 9 with the Phillies, becoming the first player to wear the number since Travis Jankowski in 2021.

"Right-handed bat. Really, he can play everywhere on the diamond. He told me he was comfortable everywhere," Phillies manager Rob Thomson said Monday. "Primarily going to be second base, corner outfield. Might get some reps at third base. He's played first base in the past. He's going to put the ball in play. He hits for average and he's got some sneaky pop. He's a really good guy and he's going to fit perfectly in our clubhouse."  

Other players to wear No. 9 with the Phillies since 2000 include:

  • Jay Bruce
  • Phil Gosselin
  • Jesmuel Valentin
  • Domonic Brown
  • Miguel Cairo
  • Chris Snelling
  • Tadahito Iguchi
  • Michael Bourn
  • Tomas Perez
  • David Newhan

The 35-year-old joins Philadelphia after slugging 11 home runs and driving in 67 runs last season with the Toronto Blue Jays. He made his third All-Star team in 2023, though his production fell off a cliff in the season's final two months. He hit .212 with a .538 on-base plus slugging percentage in his final 47 games with the Blue Jays - he hit .303 with a .781 OPS in his first 98 games.

Merrifield brings positional versatility, a right-handed bat, and speed to the Phillies. He has 201 career stolen bases, and led the American League three times with the Kansas City Royals. Last season, at 34, he still swiped 26 bats.

"Really excited about Whit," Phillies superstar Bryce Harper told reporters on Sunday. "We talked about two weeks ago, me and him, had some conversation about Philly."

Merrifield spent most of his career playing second base but has experience playing multiple positions.

Last season in Toronto, Merrifield played 74 games in left field and 73 games at second base. He also played five games in right field. In his career, he's played 15 games at first base, five at third base and 84 in center field.

With the Phillies, Merrifield figures to be the 10th man and offer insurance in case Johan Rojas' bat can't play at the major-league level or if Brandon Marsh's knee isn't ready for Opening Day.

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