I have been listening to sports radio, reading Mets Twitter, and reading articles for the past couple days as the trade deadline gets closer and closer. I keep hearing the same notion expressed by Mets fans– if the Mets trade Murphy, it indicates an unwillingness to pay good players money to keep them in New York. ‘Cheap’, ‘small-market-team’ and ‘hopeless’ are some of the words and phrases I have heard to describe the Wilpons and their goals as an ownership.
I have thought a lot about what I would want the Mets to do with Murphy. My initial thought correlates to the strong opinion of Mets fans that seems to be that they should re-sign him. Murphy is a great pure hitter. He seems to hit around .300 every year and is a great clubhouse guy. His fielding leaves a bit to be desired, but he has improved some since his earlier days.
The Mets have a couple young players that are possibilities for filling the void at second if the Mets do trade Murphy. Dilson Herrera, a pure second basemen with some pop who came over in the Marlon Byrd trade, was just recently promoted to Double-A Binghamton where he is hitting .313 with two home runs in his brief stint there thus far. Herrera is strong defensively and has some pop at the plate to go along with his ability to hit for a high average so far in his minor league career. It is also important to note that Herrera is producing at such a high level in the Eastern League while being almost five-years younger than the league average. Sure, he has only played 15 games there so far, but it’s definitely worth noting.
The next guy who could fill the void is Matt Reynolds, a 2012 draft pick who was recently promoted to Triple-A Las Vegas. The 23-year old batted .355 in Double-A before his promotion, and is off to a .373/.415/.542 clip through 17 games in the PCL. Reynolds is another pure middle infielder who has split time since 2012 between shortstop and second base. Reynolds seems to project as a similar player to Murphy, someone who won’t hit for much power but can hit for a consistent average. I would imagine he is a better defender then Murphy at second base as well. Reynolds will probably earn a call-up this September and is a legitimate contender to be the Mets’ second basemen in 2015 and beyond.
The last guy I will mention is Wilmer Flores because I’m not convinced we’ve seen all that he can do. Flores has produced at every level of the minor leagues, hitting for average and power. He has been in the Mets organization since signing at the age of 16 out of Venezuela. Yeah, yeah I know about Flores’ defensive woes. From what I hear (not seen), Flores is lucky to be as good defensively as Murphy is right now. As I said, I haven’t seen this absolutely horrendous defense yet but people smarter than me have made that hypothesis. I believe that a player cannot develop fully (in most cases) unless they are given a steady role in the starting lineup.
I think everyone knows that Tejada is not the future and I agree. Tejada is what he is and I don’t dislike him at all. He has filled a void since Jose Reyes left for Miami. I believe Flores should have been given a steady and consistent role in the lineup. A player can’t concentrate on his offensive production when he is to busy worrying whether his name will make the lineup card each day. Flores is another candidate for playing second if Murphy is traded.
Although we haven’t seen it yet in the majors, Flores is definitely a talented hitter nonetheless. At just 22-years old, I am not writing him off offensively. Flores would be less of a liability defensively playing second as opposed to shortstop. I think he is a guy to consider handing the reigns to, especially if Murphy is traded this season before Reynolds or Herrera are truly ready for big-league duty.
After considering the homegrown replacements the Mets have for Murphy, I have concluded that I wouldn’t mind if Murphy is traded. I love the guy and everything he has done for the Mets, but I do believe that $11-$13 million a year could be better spent elsewhere and on someone who will plate more runs.
I’m sure there are plenty of people here that disagree with me, but that’s what makes the world turn.
I agree with you, Avery, on many of the points you’ve made. I think we have the internal talent to step in and hold down the fort at second base in what appears to be a lost season anyway. Flores could get the first crack, as I think he’s earned an extended look in the lineup without having to look over his shoulder. Further down the pike are players like Reynolds and Herrera who could prove to be at least solid-average regulars at the keystone spot.
I don’t think trading Murphy would be the organization’s way of indicating that they aren’t willing to spend, I think it would be a smart baseball move for the future. Murphy has arguably been our best offensive player over the past two seasons, and I think we need to capitalize on that by selling him off in the right deal. He’s nearing 30 and is about to command a long term deal. A team like the Orioles could really use his bat, and I think they make a good trading partner. Alderson could obviously shoot for the moon and ask for a Dylan Bundy or Hunter Harvey and see what kind of response he gets. He could also ask about Kevin Gausman– a guy I like who the Orioles don’t seem to value based on the way they’ve yo-yo’ed him between the majors and Triple-A this season. Obviously it has to be the right deal. I’m not looking to give Murph away. I’m simply trying to find a way to continue to stockpile assets that could eventually lead to trading for the big power bat(s) we really need.
(Photo credit: AP Photo/Jason DeCrow)