Royals ship second baseman Merrifield to Toronto

Kansas City Royals second baseman Whit Merrifield was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline in exchange for right-hander Max Castillo and infielder Samad Taylor.

Merrifield, a two-time All-Star, was among 10 Royals players who didn’t travel to Toronto for a series last month because of their COVID-19 vaccination status.

At the time, Merrifield drew the ire of Royals fans by suggesting he might get the vaccine if he were traded to a contender.

“If something happens and I happen to get on a team that has a chance to go play in Canada in the postseason, maybe that changes,” he said. “But as we sit here right now, I’m comfortable with my decision, my teammates support me, support the rest of the guys in here who have made that decision, and that’s that.”

Merrifield later attempted to smooth things over, saying he “poorly articulated” his point.

“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,” he said.

The 33-year-old, whose 553-game Iron Man streak came to an end last month because of a toe injury, has been a fan favorite in Kansas City, where he has played his entire career.

He is hitting .240 with 42 RBIs and 15 stolen bases this season.

The Blue Jays also acquired right-hander Mitch White and minor league infielder Alex De Jesus from the Los Angeles Dodgers ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline in exchange for minor league pitchers Nick Frasso and Moises Brito.

Earlier Tuesday, the Blue Jays strengthened their bullpen by acquiring relievers Anthony Bass and Zach Pop (as well as a player to be named later) from the Miami Marlins for shortstop prospect Jordan Groshans.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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