Will Mets Trade Daniel Murphy?
To be clear, this was not a rumor that Olney heard, but merely an idea that he proposed as realistically plausible. This isn’t the first theory focused on a trade of Murphy to another club; in fact there have been several this winter. But let’s consider this — would the Mets trade Daniel Murphy, and if they did, would they get a worthwhile return for him?
Right now could be the time that Murphy’s value is at an all-time peak — even with the questions surrounding his knee injury. Though his accident was freak, a sprained knee isn’t career-threatening, is unlikely to affect his swing, and though it may affect his running speed and mobility, those are not aspects of his game that others take into strong consideration when evaluating his overall value. At this moment, Murphy is a valuable asset because his contract is still cheap, he’s a few years away from free agency, and he just hit .320. with a .362 OBP. But what would a team like the Rays give up for Murphy? The name Wade Davis has been mentioned, and considering the Mets’ finances he could be a good fit as his salary remains fairly cheap in 2012 ($1.5M) and 2013 ($2.8M) before jumping to nearly $5M in 2014. But, that also makes Davis a hot commodity, so I’d assume a straight-up deal for Murphy is unlikely. Another pitcher mentioned is Jeff Niemann, who I believe has yet to have his arbitration hearing (can anyone confirm?) and may be rewarded with a salary near $3M — is that too rich for the cash-strapped Mets? It might be. If not Niemann or Davis, who else might the Rays part with in return for Murphy? I’m not too familiar with Tampa Bay’s personnel — what’s your suggestion?
On the other hand, if you believe Murphy can hit .320 (or higher) again, then maybe his peak value is later this year — i.e., at the July deadline.
Finally, there is the thought that Murphy — because of his being inexpensive and under team control — stays in Flushing, perhaps to slide over to 3B when/if David Wright is dealt. Not to mention, Murphy provides insurance against Ike Davis‘ return from injury (though, for both infield corners, the Mets also have Zach Lutz and Josh Satin waiting in the wings). And of course there is still the fantasy that Murphy can be a capable everyday Major League second baseman.
What say you? Will Murphy go or stay? If he’s traded, is Tampa Bay a realistic possibility? For whom? Or is there another landing spot that makes sense? Post your ideas in the comments.