Assistant GM John Ricco Says Daniel Murphy Could Be Back

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While not clearly saying it, New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman indicated on Monday that the Yankees are not planning to aggressively pursue New York Mets free-agent second baseman Daniel Murphy.

Cashman said that the Yankees already have Rob Refsnyder and Dustin Ackley as second base options. Both of them are offensive-minded players.

‘I think if we’re going to pursue something … we have two offensive-profile players already at that position,” Cashman said. “So I think if we did any changing there it would be seeking more balance of both sides of the ball.”

The Mets made a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer to Murphy last Friday, and he has until this Friday to either accept or reject that offer.

No free agent has ever accepted a qualifying offer since the system was adopted in 2012. And while Murphy is expected to decline, Mets assistant GM John Ricco suggested he could very well be the first to accept the QO and that he hopes he does.

“In making the qualifying offer, you always have to anticipate that he’s going to accept. Otherwise I don’t think we would have done it,” Ricco explained.

“It’s very early in the signing season. I’m sure what he and his representatives are doing right now is trying to get a gauge. It’s hard for me to speculate whether the market is going to be there. We made the offer with the idea that we’d like to have him back. We’ll see how it plays out.” (Adam Rubin, ESPN)

The Mets made the qualifying offer in part to bring Murphy back for at least one more year, Ricco continued He added that Murphy accepting the qualifying offer is not the only way in which he can return to the Mets.

“We’ll keep in touch with them. We’ll see what he does first at the end of the week. I’ve been around long enough to know a lot of things can happen over the course of the winter. We have to see, as we gather information, how we think the club is going to shape up to see where different pieces might fit.”

Murphy, 30, had a career-high 14 home runs in the regular season to go with 38 doubles while batting .281 with a .770 OPS in 538 plate appearances. He took his performance up another notch in the playoffs, hitting 7 homers, driving in 11 runs, and scoring 13 more in 14 postseason games with a wicked 1.115 OPS. He was also named the NLCS MVP.

The Mets have highly regarded second base prospect Dilson Herrera waiting in the wings, and bringing Murphy back will certainly stall his arrival. Unless they’re not ready to hand him the everyday job yet.  Still, I’d be very shocked to see Murphy back next season.

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