Are Daniel Murphy’s Days Numbered?
Certainly, the question should be on the mind of the Mets fan: how much longer will Daniel Murphy remain in a Mets uniform? Yes, Murphy’s been one of the team’s top offensive performers for the past four years — though it’s debatable whether he’s ever hit enough to make up for his mediocre defense, baserunning blunders, and mental errors. His lack of fundamentals and streaky bat have always made him more suitable as a “super sub” than an everyday player for a championship ballclub, and now that the Mets are publicly pushing for the playoffs, it’s time for Murphy to move into that role — or be dealt away while he still has value.
After lighting up the PCL with a .370 AVG in the first 20 games, Dilson Herrera was promoted to take over second base while Murphy shifted to 3B to fill in for the injured David Wright. So far, the moves have been underwhelming at best, with Herrera hitting .200 and Murphy looking uncomfortable at the hot corner. Surely, it’s unfair to have expected Murphy to make a quick adjustment to third base after spending most of the last four years at 2B; prior to last week, Murphy had played only 16 MLB games at 3B since 2011. At the same time, it’s also unfair to judge Herrera on three games. Further, one has to expect a 21-year-old to experience bumps in the big leagues. But the writing is on the wall, and the Mets’ second baseman of the future is here now.
What will it take for Herrera to remain at 2B upon Wright’s return? Will he need to hit, say, .270 with a .330 OBP? Or will slick fielding and slightly less stick be enough? Will it be a combination of Herrera holding his own and Murphy continuing to languish at the Mendoza Line?
Or, will it be the right deal coming along?
In case you missed it, all the buzz has been about Giants GM Brian Sabean “scouting” the Mets. The usually pitching-rich Giants are in need of an extra starter, preferably a veteran, and the Mets have one in Dillon Gee. San Francisco could also use an upgrade at 3B, and might be open to the idea of acquiring Murphy to platoon with Casey McGehee. Then again, maybe that deal doesn’t make any sense at all, considering that McGehee hit .303 against righthanders last year while only .219 against lefties. And maybe the Mets shouldn’t be so quick to deal Gee, considering Rafael Montero‘s recent shoulder issue. Or maybe, while Gee has been pitching so well, and value strong, now is the time to trade him.
Oh, and then there’s the issue of dumping two “big” salaries that the Mets were dying to shed over the winter. Not to mention that Murphy will be a free agent at the end of the year, and Gee in line for another raise that the Mets may not want to pay. It seems like too good a fit for a deal not to happen.
But what would the Mets want in return? A projectable arm from A-ball? Salary relief? McGehee? I have no idea, though I’m betting on salary relief and a minor league suspect or two.
Of course, the San Francisco Giants are not the only club that might be interested in Murphy (and Gee, for that matter). The Brewers, if they’re looking to right the ship rather than wave the white flag, could be looking for an offensive upgrade at 2B. The Angels are struggling to add offense to their club. Then again, maybe the Mets keep Murphy upon Wright’s return and use him as the “super sub” he was always meant to be. For such a scenario to occur, Herrera certainly will have to prove he can handle MLB.
What say you? Is this much ado about nothing? Or is Murphy on the way out? Post your reaction in the comments.