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Merrifield, Phils agree to 1-year deal (source)

CLEARWATER, Fla. — The Phillies had been looking for another outfielder for months, but they said they could not find one because everybody wanted guaranteed playing time.

Sources said Friday afternoon that the Phillies and Merrifield have agreed to a one-year, $8 million contract, which includes an $8 million club option for 2025. The deal is pending a physical.

Merrifield will provide the Phillies a much needed right-handed bat off the bench with an ability to play left field, second base and occasionally elsewhere if needed. But perhaps most important, he provides the Phillies protection in the outfield, with Johan Rojas needing to prove he can be an everyday player and Brandon Marsh’s recent knee surgery that has him sidelined until next month. The Phillies think Marsh will be ready by Opening Day.

A three-time All-Star, Merrifield, 35, batted .272 with 11 home runs, 67 RBIs and a .700 OPS in 592 plate appearances last season with Toronto. The eight-year veteran spent most of his career as a second baseman with the Royals, but he played 84 games in the outfield last year with the Blue Jays.

If Rojas stumbles in center, the Phillies could slide Marsh from left to center and Merrifield could play left. If Rojas plays as the Phillies hope, Merrifield could play left or second against tough left-handed pitching.

Cristian Pache and Jake Cave entered camp as the fourth and fifth outfielders. Both are out of options, so either must be removed from the 40-man roster if they do not make the Opening Day roster.

Recently, Merrifield had been looking for a two-year deal. The one-year deal with the option seems to be a compromise.

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