This has been a hot topic for a while and now that the offseason has arrived, it will continue to swell. Daniel Murphy is coming off another solid year in which he hit .289/.332/.403/.735, leading the Mets in a number of offensive categories including hits, doubles and runs scored. He now enters his final year of team control before becoming a free-agent. Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, thinks that the time may have arrived to trade Murphy.
“So, basically, it is time for the Mets to decide to retain Murphy via a contract extension or look to get some return before he walks as a free agent in a year. And although Murphy has expressed a willingness to talk contract, Mets officials have shown no inclination to engage him. Apparently they do not view him as $10 million a year player going forward. So it’s time to deal.”
These are all valid points. Murphy will likely earn about $8 million in arbitration, a significant bump from the $5.7 million he was paid in 2014. But Rubin is right, if the Mets are not inclined to extend his contract, the time is now. They can’t afford to let Murphy just walk away the way Jose Reyes did a few years ago.
Murphy has value and for Sandy Alderson, getting value out of trades has been his specialty. He has squeezed top prospects like Zack Wheeler, Noah Syndergaard and Travis d’Arnaud out of Carlos Beltran and R.A. Dickey. But now things are different and expectations are higher. He’ll have to trade Murphy for a player or players who can step right in and help the team now.
Another possibility Rubin pointed out was that there have been internal discussions about trading Murphy at the deadline in 2015 rather than now. When you play that out, it doesn’t add up. If the Mets plan to compete in 2015, trading off what will likely be one of their better hitters doesn’t make sense (just ask Billy Beane). So if you’re going to do it, the time to trade Murphy is now.
With Dilson Herrera, Wilmer Flores and Matt Reynolds all waiting in the wings, Murphy has become somewhat expendable. However the Mets know what they’ll get out of Murphy if they were to keep him and the same can’t be said about the other three. It’s a very precarious situation that can backfire just as easily as it could work out for the team. But that’s why the GM gets the big bucks.
Contributed to by Joe D.