Here Comes Herrera… There Goes Murphy?

dilson herrera Brad Penner

When a team’s only All Star goes on the Disabled List, you would expect fans to be eagerly awaiting his return. However, when National League hits leader Daniel Murphy suffered a calf strain, a feeling of excitement arose within the Mets’ fanbase. On Friday night, the Mets called up Dilson Herrera, the top second base prospect in the system. This begs the question: do the Mets finally have a replacement for Daniel Murphy?

Dilson Herrera has rocketed through the Mets’ farm system in 2014. His latest (and final) minor league stop has scouts raving about his offensive potential. In his time with Double-A Binghamton, Herrera raked to a .340 batting average, a .406 OBP, and an astounding .967 OPS. Add on his 10 home runs, nine steals, and that fact the he’s done all this in just 61 games, and you start to understand why Dilson Herrera has generated so much hype after coming over in last August’s Marlon Byrd trade.

Some may think that Herrera will be overpowered by Major League pitching, however, Herrera had no trouble leading the Double-A Eastern League in batting average despite being almost five years younger than the league’s average ballplayer, according to Baseball Reference. In fact, ever since the Pirates signed him out of Colombia he’s been at least 1.5 years younger than the average competition. Combine all this information and it’s easy to see why GM Sandy Alderson chose for Herrera to bypass the launching pad that is Triple-A Las Vegas, and send the young budding prospect to Queens.

Still, there is one player standing in his way, but that may not be an issue for long.

Daniel Murphy has been a fixture in the New York Mets’ lineup ever since reaching the big leagues in 2008. However, even though he’s been a stellar option at the plate the last two seasons, it seems like Murphy has priced himself out of the Big Apple.

Despite playing in the largest sports market in the world, the Mets retain a small market payroll and approach. Set to be a free agent following the 2015 season, Murphy will reel in over $8M next season, a price tag that may be a bit too steep for Sandy Alderson and co. With Murphy’s pending free agency, it’s time for the Mets to make a very hard decision. Should they extend the homegrown All-Star second baseman, likely to cost the team around $50M over four to five years? Or should they trade Murphy, in hopes of bringing back impact talent at other positions around the diamond? If the Mets really want to contend right now, there is only one choice for the front office.

The current National League hits leader has reached the peak of his trade value. Daniel Murphy is pacing qualified National League second baseman in batting average, hits, and is tied for first in runs scored. Additionally, Murphy is second in steals, fourth in home runs, and fourth in runs batted in among NL second-sackers. However, despite excellent play of Murphy, the Mets are still out of playoff contention due to the many holes on their roster. New York is second-to-last in the National League in both batting average and OPS, barely beating out the lowly Padres in both categories.

And although Daniel Murphy is a bit inconsistent in the field, there is no shortage of second base needy teams that would willingly trade a significant piece to land Murphy. Executing a Daniel Murphy trade could land the Mets a power-hitting left fielder or a competent shortstop, the two most significant areas of weakness on the team. If the Mets can turn a position of weakness into a position of strength, assuming Herrera can adequately man the middle, trading Murphy is a must for the New York Mets.

At the ripe age of 20, Dilson Herrera is both the present and future at second base for the Mets. In fact, Keith Law of ESPN was bullish on Herrera in a recent report, stating, “If Herrera ended up on a few All-Star teams I wouldn’t be shocked.” While Daniel Murphy may be the most consistent player on the Mets right now, it would be in New York’s best interest to trade Murphy while he is at the height of his trade value.

With Sandy Alderson’s incredible track record in trades, it would be no surprise if Murphy, coupled with perhaps a mid-tier prospect, netted the Amazin’s the impact power bat they have been looking for. All that’s left is for the Mets to hand over the reigns to a young, energetic, power-hitting second baseman out of Colombia. It’s Dilson Herrera’s time to shine.

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