New York Mets: What should they do with Daniel Murphy?


It has been reported that the New York Mets don’t intend on signing second baseman, Daniel Murphy, to a long term deal. Murphy, who can test the free agent market after the 2015 season, has indicated that he is open to talking extensions during the season.

“I’ve always been open to an extension,” said Murphy. “I’ve never approached the blessing of playing in the big leagues with thinking I need to maximize every single dollar I can get out of this game. I’ve made a whole bunch of money already.”

It sounds like Murphy is willing to take a hometown discount to stay with the Mets, but even if he does, the Mets know that there are still younger and cheaper options in the minors. With Dilson Herrera on the cusp of the majors, it’s more likely that Sandy Alderson and the frugal Mets let Murphy test free agency or trade him, rather than re-sign him. But if they do, there are a few things they will miss with Murphy.

In his six years with the Mets, Murphy has been one of the most consistent players. His batting averages since 2012 have been .291, .286, and .289. His WAR over that time has been 1.5, 1.5, and 2.0. He is the only player on the Mets that has no question marks. With everyone else, it’s: Will David Wright, Curtis Granderson, and Matt Harvey bounce back? Will Lucas Duda and Jacob DeGrom pick up where they left off? Will Travis D’Arnaud and Wilmer Flores lock down their roles with the team? You can slot Murphy into the lineup and know what you are going to get from him.

It’s also worth noting that since 2012, he has averaged 153 games a season. Thats more than Wright (134), Granderson (125), Duda (125), and Michael Cuddyer (93). And as a left-handed bat, he protects Wright in the lineup when you bat him second and Duda fourth. Late in ball games, teams can’t bring in their lefty pitcher to face Murphy, because then they would have to keep him in to face Wright, who hit .367 with a .412 on-base percentage against lefties. If they take the lefty out before he faces Wright, then that manager just wasted a lefty who could have faced Duda. It’s a lot to think about, but these are the things that Murphy brings to the team.

If the Mets do indeed decide to let him go, they can’t keep him past the trade deadline. They already did that in 2011 with Jose Reyes when they could have gotten quality prospects for him. Murphy will not hold as much trade value as Reyes, given his below average defense and lack of speed, but you have to get something, anything for him! You can’t just let him leave for nothing.

It will be interesting to see what they do come the trade deadline. If they are in the midst of a playoff race, it would be risky to trade Murphy and slot Herrera, an unproven prospect, into a full-time second base role. Of course, they could also move Flores from shortstop to second base, but that opens up a hole at short.

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One trade target that may suit the team is Asdrubal Cabrera. He signed to Tampa Bay on a one year deal and is not part of their plan for the future. If the Mets traded for him as a playoff push rental, they could use him, Flores, and Herrera as a rotating middle infield crew. This move would have to been done in a separate deal from Murphy, because the Rays would have no use for Murphy.

Regardless of what the Mets do, Murphy will be a critical part to the team in at least the first half of the year. If they do decide not to trade him, it would be like having a playoff rental without having to go out and acquire one.

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