Parnell, Gee, Murphy Are Solid Extension Candidates

Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors listed Dillon Gee, Daniel Murphy and Bobby Parnell as potential extension candidates.

dillon gee

I love the Dillon Gee story… He comes back from a career threatening blood clot that required arterial surgery and delivers a solid campaign in which he led the team in starts and wins while posting a career best 3.64 ERA and 2.1 BB/9. He got off to a rusty start in April, but got progressively better as the season wore on and posted some of the best second half numbers in the National League with a 2.74 ERA, 1.08 WHIP and an opposing .280 on-base percentage.

Gee symbolizes what the Mets have been trying to do over the last several seasons and that is to throw strikes and command the zone. He shows that you don’t necessarily need a 98 mph fastball to succeed as long as you can spot your pitches and change speeds the way he does. Gee is as close to a keeper as one could get, and with all the fireballers expected to pack this rotation by 2015, the Mets are going to need a pitcher like Gee who offers a different look that would only enhance his rotation-mates’ performances and confound opposing teams. Expect an even better season from Gee in 2014 who has lifted himself from number five starter to somewhere a potential two or three. Extension? I say, why not…

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

As Ed Leyro wrote a couple of months back, Daniel Murphy had one of the greatest seasons ever recorded by a Mets second baseman in 2013.  He finished the year with a .286 batting average, 38 doubles, 13 homers, 78 RBI, 92 runs scored and 23 stolen bases.  Prior to Murphy, the only second basemen in franchise history to reach double digits in both home runs and RBI in the same season were Gregg Jefferies and Roberto Alomar.  But neither player matched Murphy’s totals in batting average, runs scored, runs batted in and stolen bases.  In fact, the only two players in team history who had better numbers than Murphy in all six offensive categories (batting average, doubles, home runs, RBI, runs scored, stolen bases), regardless of their defensive position, were Howard Johnson in 1989 (.287 average, 41 doubles, 36 HR, 101 RBI, 104 runs scored, 41 SB) and David Wright in 2007 (.325 average, 42 doubles, 30 HR, 107 RBI, 113 runs scored, 34 SB).

In a season that saw the 28-year old finish in the National League’s top ten in base hits, doubles, runs scored and even stolen bases, you would think Murphy’s job security with the Mets would be a slam dunk. However, he’s often the subject of trade rumors and was called out by Sandy Alderson for not drawing more walks. In my opinion, Murphy is deserving of an extension and a perfect candidate for one. If the Mets could sign him to a cost-controlled three year deal, it may actually make Murphy more attractive to other teams. But I’d rather keep him.

bobby parnell

Mets closer Bobby Parnell is coming back from neck surgery to repair a bulging disc. The hard-throwing righthander is feeling great and Sandy Alderson said he expects Parnell to be ready for the 2014 season.

Parnell, 29, is arbitration eligible and was having the best season of his career since taking over as the team’s closer. He was pitching intelligently and using his secondary pitches better than he ever has before and the results were quite impressive, posting a 2.16 ERA and 1.00 WHIP with 22 saves in 49 games this season.

More importantly, Parnell saw a drastic decline in his home run rate which was at an impressive .18% down from a 1.10% average over the three previous seasons. Additionally, Parnell was missing more bats and had a career best .205 BAA and 2.15 BB/9.

Parnell remains under the Mets’ control through the 2015 season, and after earning $1.7 million this season, he should easily double that in arbitration this Winter. He’s a big piece for the Mets moving forward and has established himself as an effective closer. If he’s healthy, I would consider locking him up for three years, no doubt about it.

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  • Daniel

    I wouldn’t extend any one of them. Gee will probably be the odd man out when all the young pitching arrives. Not to mention it doesn’t make sense to extend him after his best “ERA” and innings season. Murphy isn’t a long term solution at 2B, and Parnell is a reliever coming off a serious neck injury.

  • willywater88

    Mets need to clear that logjam at second by trading one of Flores or Murphy. If Flores goes, then absolutely extend Murphy.

    I saw a recent article on Fangraphs detailing why Dillon Gee’s numbers have been better than he is pitching and concluding that he will likely regress to the back of the rotation starter he was expected to be. With that in mind, I would wait and see with him. If he performs well and still has below average peripherals, it would make sense to sell high on him in the midseason or next offseason.

    Parnell would be another wait and see guy for me. The Mets should have a better idea of what their potential replacement options are like at the end of the year (Black, Familia, Walters). The negotiating advantage will be in the Mets hands and waiting a season will not give away any leverage.

  • Bail4Nails

    Do you worry at all about Gee getting hurt or decreasing his value this season? I don’t know, I think he could be a great addition piece in a trade for SS, if we can’t get Drew. I can’t help but imagine what we could’ve gotten, had we traded Ike before last season. Gee looks like that guy this season, to me at least.

  • Big Mets Fan

    If Gee was a lefty, not only would there be a lot more extension talk – but GM’s would be trying to trade for him left and right.

  • CJM

    Gee isn’t a free agent until after the 2016 season. I don’t think they’re really in danger of him producing a season worth more than what they’d end up paying him yearly in an extension. He looked great at the end last season, but I still think the third time through the order is a weakness which will prevent him from being more than what he is now. Last season could’ve been his peak. No real need to guarantee the money from a business standpoint.

    As for Parnell, why extend him before he can show he’s 100% after a very serious surgery?

    I’m indifferent towards Murph. I agree with Sandy that he needs to work on his patience. The guy’s swing happy. A lot of his value last season was also derived from his base running, which he may never duplicate again. 23/3 SB/CS is great but the book will be out on him now–don’t expect such excellent numbers again. Also notice that according to Fangraphs, Murph was above average. But he was not above average accord to Baseball-Reference.

  • CJM

    I think the same thing about Niese. It seemed like there was a lot of interest in him last off season, but that interest has declined as Niese once again proved to be less than durable. Niese is loved by fans because he has “stuff,” but he’s yet to do anything significant with that stuff. In 4 full seasons, Niese has yet to throw 200 innings and has only once produced an ERA+ above 100.

  • Biggle Boy

    I kind of agree. I’d like to keep Murphy for 2014, since his bat could be used at 2B – and 1B if needed, there. But if Parnell absolutely proves to be completely healthy in 2014, I’d extend him.

  • Bail4Nails

    I agree. I think Niese being a lefty is the only difference. Teams love lefties on their staff, probably because there are guys like Ike Davis in the lineups.

  • willywater88

    I think Gee’s probability of injury is about average for a pitcher and if he regresses, it would be a good thing that we didn’t give him the extension now.

    It sounds like you are in favor of selling high on him now and I wouldn’t disagree with the logic but the Mets really have no depth in their rotation at the moment. I think the ideal scenario is to cross your fingers and hope Gee performs well for at least half a season while the prospects arrive from triple A.

  • CJM

    Yes that’s true and I constantly hear people say Niese needs to be in the rotation because he’s left handed. There’s no requirement, though. The best 5 starters, regardless of pitching arm, should be in the rotation. The Tigers were quite good last year sporting 5 righties. A good lefty is a bonus, but not a necessity.

  • Bail4Nails

    As a lefty, I’m slightly offended. As a hopeful Met fan, you’re dead on. When the studs come up, sell Niese as high as you can.

  • CJM

    The Mets don’t have real, proven, rotation depth, but it’s there in theory. If the right deal came along for either Gee or Niese, I think the trigger gets pulled. Pitchers who could see time in the rotation this year include: Colon, Wheeler, Mejia, Niese, Gee, deGrom, Montero, and Syndergaard. That’s 8 guys, and yes they all have question marks to some extent, but I believe the Mets are still in a great place regarding the rotation. If they sign Drew, however, they’ll be in a real position to compete, imo, and would then be smart to hold onto their pitchers to avoid a guy like Schwinden making starts.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    Disagree. Gee isn’t automatically the odd man out. For one thing, you don’t want to just call up every prospect. You want some veteran leadership, guys who have been around. Guys like Gee. Not to mention the Mets have next to no positional prospects coming, which means they’re going to have a trade for some eventually, which means not all of those pitching prospects will be around.

    If Murphy isn’t the long-term solution, who is? Flores hasn’t shown much, at least not enough for me to think he’s our 2B of the future. In reality, Murphy has been one of if not the best offensive player on the Mets for the past two seasons and his defense at 2B is more than serviceable.

  • Bail4Nails

    You’re right. I’m hoping Mejia can become the next Gee. If only he can get the walks down, and stay healthy for a change. His stuff is nasty. If he can hit his spots like Gee did last year, either one of them would make great trade bait.

  • agetting

    I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. Look at Jon Niese

  • willywater88

    Ah I am not as hopeful on Mejia as you or others. His delivery is…violent. I hope I am wrong but I see more DL time in his future. If he doesn’t establish himself this year, I would like to see the Mets move him to the pen to save his arm and open up spots for the prospects.

  • Agee’s Catch

    I don’t see the value in extending any of these three players. I’d need to see another solid season from Gee & Parnell. Maybe next year.

    Murphy is a good offensive player. Really he is. If he could field half as well as he hit, an extension would be a solid move. Personally, I’m marking time until Dilson Herrera is ready, most likely the tail end of 2015.

    Why would you tie up replaceable talent when you need the bucks in a few years to secure Harvey, Wheeler & Syndergaard? I realize Harvey will most likely tests the FA waters ASAP (He is a Boras client, after all), but why commit the money elsewhere when you might have the chance to spend it on superior talent?

  • Barry

    You said: “Prior to Murphy, the only second
    basemen in franchise history to reach double digits in both home runs
    and RBI in the same season were Gregg Jefferies and Roberto Alomar.”

    Huh? How about Edgardo Alfonzo? .324 BA, 94 RBI, 25 HR in 2000/

  • Agee’s Catch

    Probably the best second base man we’ve ever had

  • Run Support Group

    If mejia can stay healthy he can be a lot better than Gee. He’s got great stuff.

  • CJM

    I caught that too and assumed it was a typo. I believe he meant to write double digits in HRs and SB, which Alomar and Jefferies also both did with the Mets. Regardless, there’s a huge selection problem here because the implication is that double digits in HRs and SBs is good. And that certainly wasn’t the case with Alomar. Yet, this article seemingly denies the existence of Alfonzo, who was a phenomenal second baseman for the Mets on both sides of the ball. Using counting stats to justify Murphy’s abilities is silly because he played more than almost anyone in the majors last season. If you want to make an argument for Murphy, that’s fine. But if you start throwing counting stats around, your point will be lost on a lot of folks. I can counter with the fact that Murphy made (I believe) the third most outs in baseball last year. Also, it’s worth noting that Alfonzo did once hit double digit HRs and steal double digit bases for the Mets, but he was still playing third base at the time.

  • Daniel

    How do you figure? We have Harvey, Colon, Niese, Wheeler, Syndergaard, Montero, Mejia, Hefner, deGrom, and maybe more pitching ready in 2015. Don’t see where Gee fits. Colon and Niese are enough veteran presences in the rotation.

    Murphy has been the best offensive player for the Mets over the past two seasons? lol that’s a good one. Wright is far superior and Byrd was better too. Just because our team is devoid of offensive talent, doesn’t mean we should praise Murphy for anything. His defense is not serviceable, either. He’s a very average player, and I wouldn’t extend him unless he comes cheap. Since there is no reason to believe that, he should just go. Flores will be similar to Murphy early on, and he has more upside.

  • Daniel

    Depends how much Parnell is willing to sign for. Personally, I would try to sell high on him after this season. Relievers are so volatile.

  • Mike

    Murphy will not and should not sign an extension. He swings at everything, never walks, is a bad defender doesn’t have much pop and is super streaky. I’d say trade him now, he’s a Free agent after 15 and is due to make around 6 mil bucks in 14, which is on the edge of being over paid as it is. There’s a reason he’s on the trading block every yr, Sandy doesn’t like him.

  • Biggle Boy

    Also depends on who else they have that shows solid back end skills in 2014. Parnell is arb eligible after next season, and if his ERA continues to be sub 2.50, he may be worth extending before then. If, as you say, the money makes some sense.

  • tacknaf

    Gee has been better than Niese.

  • JimmyBX

    I love Murph, but you aren’t winning with him at 2B. He will cost you games with his defense.

  • Pike Miazza

    Your comment is full of contradictions, what team would trade for such a bad player?
    Murphy is our best player.

  • DrDooby

    No. No. And No.
    None of the 3 will ever be a “core” player to build around.
    They are what they are. Quality complementary pieces you are appy to have under team control until they become free agents. But you don’t want to carry the risks attached to them long term, especially since all 3 perform well below star level anyway.

    Gee is a nice & dependable SP. But we saw in April & May 2013 what will happen if his fastball is 87 to 89 mph instead of 89 to 91 mph. Gee has been pitching through a partial labrum tear for years. Enjoy him through 2016 (or trade him before). But Gee is the type of SP who’ll generally collapse quickly when it happens – not someone you want to sign to a longterm deal.

    Parnell is a fine closer. But non elite closers rarely are worth longterm deals. Plus there are a ton of young power arms ready to take over for him at some point. Let him go after 2015. Maybe make him a QO to either retain him for a year or get a draft pick.

    Murphy is what he is. Solid player – but not someone you’d spend double figure millions on either.

    The current front office sure has its flaws. But they certainly aren’t sentimental or attached to any players. And Gee, Parnell and Murphy certainly are players you enjoy and appreciate while you have them under team control for 6 to 7 years. And then you move on…

  • diehardmets

    I would trade all of them. We have solid organizational depth at 2B, with Flores ready to step in now and Herrera probably coming sometime in 2015, and Murphy really isn’t anything that special. Gee is a control specialist that will never be more than a middle of the rotation starter, plus he far outperformed his peripherals last season. He should be traded as soon as our pitching prospects make that possible. And Parnell is a closer. Paying a lot of money for a closer is rarely worth it. He should have been traded at the deadline last season.

  • diehardmets

    David Wright says hello.

  • Pike Miazza

    Funny, just trying to make a point…

  • agetting

    that’s fair

  • reality check

    Here here, you hit it dead on

  • RyanF55

    Gee is a very interesting decision for the Mets. I’m interested to see how he performs this year after a solid 2013. With Harvey, Thor and Montero set to fill the rotation out in 2014, will Gee be extended or moved. Will Montero be moved? It will be interesting to see how it plays out.

  • oleosmirf

    Gee is the definition of sell high, which I expect them to do once the young SP is ready. If he’s on the team in 2015, I’d be shocked

  • jason bay

    This is my only criticism of Alderson. Here we have 3 guys who we could offer guaranteed money to during their arb years and pick up a club option year or perhaps two and increase their trade value and keep them around (at our option) for an extra year or two.

    Alderson ruled out the extensions at the end of the season but I don’t get it. Murphy 3/21 M and an option or two with a 1 M buyout. Parnell the same, Gee 3/15 (covering all arb years) and guaranteeing him that money in return for two club option years to me makes all the sense in the world.

    That’s like 20 M a year for 3 years and buys time for the farm to develop and will be cheaper than buying to rent guys like Young and Colon.

  • Mike

    No that would be David Wright, Murphy is a bad defender, has never hit more than 12 hrs, is streaky and doesn’t walk much. He’s a very flawed player. Curtis Granderson is our second best player

  • Pike Miazza

    SO HOW ARE WE GOING TO TRADE HIM ???

  • Mike

    Idk? But Sandy has more experience in mlb front offices than half of the current GM’s put together; he’s already fleeced three GM’s on trades, perhaps he can make it four?

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    So I’m guessing your comfortable with the Mets offense since you don’t see the need to trade for anyone new? The Mets farm system is ranked in the middle because of a lack of offensive prospects. If they’re ever going to improve, it’ll be through a trade because the free agent class just doesn’t seem to be something they’ll ever be big players in. That means trading pitching, which means any of those guys you listed could be gone. Not to mention injuries do happen and there’s no such thing as too much pitching. See: Harvey.

    I didn’t say Murphy was better than Wright overall, I said he’s been the best over the past two seasons. Last season, Murphy led the team in batting average, OBP and RBI. He also played the most games, 161 out of 162. The year before that, despite tearing his MCL in 2011, he played in 156 games.

    Over the past three seasons, Murphy has increased his extra-base hits from 36 in 2011 to 55 in 2013. He also improved from 49 RBI in 2011 to 65 RBI in 2012 and 78 RBI in 2013.

    Additionally, Murphy has been stealing a lot more bases. He stole five bases in 2011, 10 bases in 2012 and 23 bases in 2013.

    Sorry, but stats are stats. Murphy is the best offensive player overall on the Mets the past two seasons.

  • attgig

    seriously. how does one forget the great fonzie?

  • Daniel

    lol sorry this is ridiculous. You are way off here.

  • ThatGuyWhoLeavesComments

    How so?

  • Daniel

    1. We’re not in position to trade our pitching yet. We can make a substantial upgrade by signing Drew.
    2. Murphy is not a better offensive player than Wright. Period. Citing meaningless counting stats like extra base hits and RBI doesn’t do anything for me.

    From 2012-2013:

    Wright: .382 wOBA
    Murphy: .319 wOBA

    Not even close. Wright>>>>>Murphy