According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the Washington Nationals have expressed interest in Daniel Murphy, but he calls the likelihood of any deal a longshot.
SiriusXM host and former GM Jim Duquette also had a source tell him that the Giants are still very interested in acquiring Murphy.
In all likelihood, Murphy isn;t going anywhere. Sandy Alderson will want much to move him and his value to the Mets may be higher than anything another team would offer to pry him away.
This is the kind of move the Mets would wait until the offseason to make.
In using humor to deflect a question about the Mets capacity to pay top or near top shelf salaries for three players on their roster, Sandy Alderson sent clear signals the financial situation for the New York Mets has not been resolved. Posture and position as he might, the reality is Alderson does not have the payroll flexibility of bringing a third top flight offensive player to Flushing.
With that in mind, it’s important for Alderson to consider the packaging of Met assets to build a Met offense, that matched with our young pitching cadre increases our possibilities of fielding a competitive baseball team. Such maneuvering involves risk, daring and keen baseball insights.
In all likelihood, that packaging will need to include Daniel Murphy. Accepting the reality that in trying to improve their roster, the Mets will likely need to move Murphy is a tough pill for me to swallow. When Murphy was in Binghamton with the Double-A Mets, I fell in love with his unpredictable, gritty, passionate style of baseball and I’ve followed his career closely ever since. Murphy has a work ethic second to none and through the force of hard work and a strong will has made himself an accomplished major league baseball hitter, the major reason why Murphy is one of the Met assets that make him a probable trading piece. Coupled with a top shelf Met pitching prospect, a trade involving Murphy might add a solid major leaguer to fill one of the position holes in left field or at shortstop on our current roster.
I understand the angst of Met fans who argue that in trading Murphy the Mets would simply trade one roster gap for a newly formed crevice at second base. They’re right. But, working to improve a roster takes the capacity to hedge bets and take risks. And, the status or our current crop of minor league position players builds a solid case that successfully filling a vacancy in Flushing at second base with prospects already in our system is far more probable than filling vacancies at other field positions.
Why? Because, the Mets have a nucleus of promising middle infielder contenders in the minor leagues. The probability is good that from that young group the Mets can find an everyday second baseman.
Who are the contenders? It’s a group of diverse baseball talent that places Murphy in the crosshairs of possibly being moved this off-season, especially knowing the Mets will need to dig considerably deeper into their pockets should they elect to stay with their current second baseman.
Wilmer Flores has to be the leading candidate to fill a future major league second base void in Flushing. Given a chance to play regularly, the 22-year old Flores has shined at whatever level he has played. There is little argument that it’s Flores’s bat that is his ticket to the major leagues. Solid batting fundamentals and home run power are an asset for Flores as well as his ability in an emergency to play almost any infield slot. And, although he may lack range defensively, Flores has proven he is sure handed and consistent, both qualities of a solid fielding second baseman.
From there a pack of minor league middle infielders is nipping at Flores’ heels, all part of the Mets safety net should they move Murphy. In my opinion, Dilson Herrera has a slight edge on the rest of the pack. Getting an extended opportunity to watch Herrera in Binghamton has been a baseball bonus this summer. Met fans are simply going to love this toolsy middle infielder.
Of course it’s only a small sample but if first impressions count, Herrera has been a B-Met sensation, In 35 games covering 142 at bats, Herrera is batting .345 with 10 doubles, 2 triples and 6 home runs. The B-Met second baseman has hit in the clutch already knocking home 32 RBI’s in his short Binghamton stay. Herrera’s .407 on-base-percentage is the best on the current B-Met roster only trailing Matt Reynolds who posted a .430 OBP before his elevation to Las Vegas. Herrera’s .579 slugging percentage is nearly 75 percentage points higher than the nearest B-Met. Herrera is quick of foot, with great hands, a middle infield prospect who has Met fans who have watched him play thinking big.
Speaking of Matt Reynolds, the former University of Arkansas Razorback has exploded on the Met baseball scene this spring. After compiling modest production in A-ball in 2012 and 2013 at Savannah and St. Lucie, Reynolds has been a hitting machine in Binghamton and Las Vegas this spring and summer. Alternating in Binghamton on a day-to-day basis between second and short, Reynolds led the Eastern League in batting at .355 when he was called up to Vegas. Good plate discipline has to elevate Reynolds’s standing with Met brass.
After initially tearing up the Pacific Coast League in Vegas, Reynolds cooled, but has recently rediscovered his hitting stroke, hitting safely in his last four games going 8-for-17, scoring a run in each game, slamming two home runs and driving in 6 runs. Although he is not flashy with the leather, Reynolds has solid defensive skills and projects well at second base.
A dark horse contender, don’t count Wilfredo Tovar out. A thumb injury and surgery has almost erased the gritty Tovar out of consideration by most Met fans. But, Tovar is by far the best middle infield defensive option for the Mets, the Met minor league defensive player of the year for four years running. And since the Eastern League All-Star game in 2013, the tough B-Met infielder has raked at the plate. Before his thumb injury, Tovar was having a career season in Binghamton from the last slot in the B-Met batting order with a .313/.377/.373 stat line including 21 RBI’s in 150 at-bats. And, prior to his injury, Tovar drew more walks than he struck out. At present Tovar has returned to the diamond in Port St. Lucie where Tovar has played in 4 games including 14 at bats and is hitting .357.
Not highly recruited but highly productive, T.J. Rivera should also be part of the middle infield conversation. All Rivera does wherever he goes is hit. Rivera, who is currently playing shortstop for the B-Mets hit .341 in St. Lucie before his elevation to Double-A ball where he is batting .340 in Binghamton.
Although he probably doesn’t register on the radar, I’d wager if you asked Las Vegas manager Wally Backman, he’d say his Las Vegas second baseman Danny Muno deserves some consideration. That’s because Muno plays the same hard-nosed, hustle at all costs, dirt-on-the-uniform style of play at second base for the 51’s Backman used to play for the Mets. In both Binghamton and Vegas, Muno has profiled as a .250 stick at the plate with all the intangibles managers love in a middle infielder. Like he did in Binghamton, Muno hits in the clutch. His 46 RBI’s rank fourth on the 51 roster behind Allan Dykstra (62), Wilmer Flores (57) and Andrew Brown (52).
In the best of all worlds, I’d love to see the Mets use free agency to add the pieces to complement our promising young pitching to see us elevate our standing in major league baseball circles. But, for our Mets, financially, that best of all worlds simply does not exist. So, rather then gnash my already seriously compromised teeth (from all that anxiety night time grinding that comes with rooting for the Mets) fantasizing about what we can’t have, maybe it’s time to cobble together some intelligent baseball moves, risky as they might be, that might help get us what we want. One of the biggest risks of all might be moving Daniel Murphy.