Daniel Murphy is the Least of the Mets’ Problems

From longtime, loyal MetsToday reader and commenter “crozier:”

Nothing, but nothing, stirs up the Mets Today forum like Dan Murphy. If he’s traded, there will be so much less to discuss!

Murphy’s OPS+ stands at 104: he’s nobody’s MVP, but he isn’t terrible. His 87% SB quotient suggests he isn’t an idiot in the running game. If he improves his plate discipline next year, and improves his defense – I’m not saying this is too terribly likely, but it wouldn’t be miraculous, either – he would be a legitimately above average player. So yes, I can see him being attractive trade bait. But despite the lack of love in this community, he hasn’t been a disgrace, and there are much bigger issues to deal with in 2014.

I agree with Crozier. Nothing stirs up the MetsToday pot like a Daniel Murphy discussion. And yes, there will be so much less to discuss here if Murph is jettisoned during the offseason. And yes, he’s nobody’s MVP. And yes, if by some miracle Murphy can improve both his OBP and defense, he’ll be an above-average player.

Has he been a disgrace? Debatable; it all depends on what you value in a ballplayer. If it’s purely offensive numbers, then no. If it’s enthusiasm, no — one thing no one can ever fault Dan Murphy for is his enthusiasm, energy, and hustle. As for fundamentals, defense, and “headiness,” well, maybe “disgrace” is not the right word, but there’s enough to argue.

But a very big question, to me, is crozier’s last comment: are there much bigger issues to deal with in 2014?

On the surface, sure, it’s easy to say, “Dan Murphy is the least of the Mets’ problems” — because the Mets have so many gosh-darned problems. But this has become a tired, perpetual argument; people have been defending Murphy, and saying he’s “the least of the Mets problems” since around the time a baseball bounced off his glove in left field, costing “team leader” Johan Santana a ballgame.

This phrase “Dan Murphy is the least of the Mets’ problems” has become so common and prevalent, I’m starting to wonder if Dan Murphy EPITOMIZES the Mets’ problems.

Though I shouldn’t pick out Murphy specifically, because I’ve read and heard the same thing in reference to other Mets. Such as:

Bobby Parnell is the least of the Mets’ problems.”

Omar Quintanilla is the least of the Mets’ problems.”

Ruben Tejada is the least of the Mets’ problems.”

Scott Atchison / David Aardsma is the least of the Mets’ problems.”

Robert Carson / Josh Edgin / Gonzalez Germen is the least of the Mets’ problems.”

Lucas Duda is the least of the Mets’ problems.”

Ike Davis is the least of the Mets’ problems.”

Josh Satin is the least of the Mets’ problems.”

At some point, the madness has to stop, and we have to say, “hey, exactly WHAT or WHO IS the Mets’ problem?” And/or, we have to look at all of these “least” problems, add them up, step back, and realize that all of these issues are the Mets’ problem.

Having a DH play second base isn’t a major problem? OK. How about having a DH play second base, no power production at three of the four corner positions, and a gaping hole at shortstop? Is THAT a problem?

The Mets need to find bona fide solutions at five positions on the diamond — and that’s assuming one or both of Juan Lagares and Matt den Dekker fill center field the way we all hope. There is no “least” or “most” when it comes to this, and in fact, it could be argued that the two middle positions — second base and shortstop — are the priority. After all, winning teams tend to be “strong up the middle” and premium players at those positions are difficult to find.

Five or ten years ago, when players were juiced up and teams scoring 5-7 runs a game, it didn’t matter so much to have a less-than-solid player playing a premium defensive position — the homeruns made up for the defensive and fundamental gaffes. But PEDs testing has reverted the game back to where it was in the mid-1970s to mid-1980s, when an everyday “big leaguer” needed to be at least average if not strong in every aspect of the game — and if he wasn’t, he needed to have one well-above-average tool, such as speed, defense, or homerun power. A team could live with Dave Kingman at 1B or LF because he hit more homeruns than nearly everyone else. They could live with Garry Maddox‘s bat because no one played a better center field. Omar Moreno had a job despite a sub-.300 OBP because he ran faster than just about anyone and played a strong center field. Bud Harrelson and Mark Belanger couldn’t hit a lick but played every day they were healthy because they were stellar-fielding shortstops, executed bunts and both sides of the hit-and-run, and rarely made fundamental mistakes. I could go on and on, but you get the gist — to win in MLB today, a team can’t have flawed players. Maybe it can’t find a Belanger or a Harrelson to play shortstop, but at the very least it needs to find a Craig Reynolds. Maybe it can’t fill 1B with a Kingman or a Keith Hernandez, but it can get by with a Dan Driessen — someone who may not be a star, or have a spectacular tool, but can ably execute every aspect of the game for which he’s responsible.

In my mind, you can’t dismiss or defend one piece of the Mets’ biggest problem — which is having flawed players at every position other than third base, center field, and catcher. And I might be generous or optimistic in assuming that Travis d’Arnaud is the answer behind the plate, and Lagares/den Dekker will ably fill center field (not to mention the pitching staff looking acceptable enough to compete in ’14); perhaps this is a rare moment of cynicism falling by the wayside.

First base, second base, shortstop, left field, and right field — together — are the Mets’ most glaring problem. As a whole. It’s a package. For the Mets to compete for the postseason in 2014, all five spots need to be addressed and improved considerably over what they have currently — there is no “most” or “least.”

Your thoughts? Sound off in the comments.

Joe Janish began MetsToday in 2005 to provide the unique perspective of a high-level player and coach -- he earned NCAA D-1 All-American honors as a catcher and coached several players who went on to play pro ball. As a result his posts often include mechanical evaluations, scout-like analysis, and opinions that go beyond the numbers. Follow Joe's baseball tips on Twitter at @onbaseball and at the On Baseball Google Plus page.
  1. thgeneralfamily September 23, 2013 at 8:21 am
    Touche Joe.
  2. Zozo September 23, 2013 at 8:34 am
    Sorry but I disagree, trade him while the iron is hot!!! Can he get much better then this??? I doubt it, it might be a career year for him. I would trade him, Flores, darnaud, cecchini and montero for Tulowitzski. Then pickup cano for second base and Beltran for left field. Batting order would be.
    Den dekker
    • Sidd Finch September 23, 2013 at 10:49 am
      Even as part of a package, why would the Rockies trade for TDA? They don’t need a catcher.
    • Joe Janish September 23, 2013 at 11:04 am
      Disagree? I don’t disagree with the idea of trading Murphy right now. There is a legion of Mets fans who insist the Mets shouldn’t trade Murphy because “he’s the least of the Mets’ problems.”
      • chris September 23, 2013 at 2:05 pm
        I agree we should trade him if we can get a major league quality player in return, however, if we are simply signing free agents, I think the corner outfield and shortstop positions should be addressed first. I dont know how appalling a Murphy / Flores right side of the infield would be, but if we only managed to fill part of the needs, I would be happy to try it out along with legitimate major leaguers at the other 3 positions
  3. DaveSchneck September 23, 2013 at 8:38 am
    Well said. Murph not quite ARod but he really is a lightning rod in Metsville. He is the poster child for Mets baseball the last 5 years. Now, I think Murphy is a valuable player as a supersub type, playing 3x a week and as a PH vs RHP. For those that like stats and enthusiasm, he looks like a plus player. However, at .735 OPS and minus defense and baserunning, he is not a plus player. Those seduced by his total SB and SB% are being very mislead. He is not a bad baserunner, he is a really bad baserunner, and as noted many times by you and others, his defense is much much worse than stats represent due to many mishaps that cannot be captured on a scorecard. Add to this that he is a .600 OPS player vs LHP, and it is not hard to see that he is part of the problem and not part of the solution. That is not to see he needs to be bounced. As a bench player, he can be a plus player and solid contributor to a playoff caliber team, and hopefully that will be his role on the 2014 Mets if he is not dealt for a better player.
  4. DanB September 23, 2013 at 9:02 am
    The Met’s main problem is they don’t have enough “plus” players. Heck, they don’t have enough average players. They need to add plus players no matter if they are at second, short, or bat boy. Just because Murphy is the best player that needs to be replaced doesn’t change that the Mets need to upgrade second base. I love rooting for Murphy, but the Mets need improvements. By the way, one of the best upgrades the Mets ever did was Piazza for Hundley and Hundley was heads and shoulders better then Murphy. (historical note — Wilpon was against getting Piazza because he thought Hundley was good enough but Doubleday talked him into it — all we need to know about Wilpon as an owner)
    • argonbunnies September 23, 2013 at 2:42 pm
      Well said. This should be Murphy’s new official label: The Best Player That Needs to be Replaced.
  5. Dave September 23, 2013 at 9:25 am
    Is it too broad a brush to paint the Mets biggest problem as the Wilpons? Even if they are not the bumbling, meddlesome oafs we sometimes accuse them of being, they do have a history of trusting the wrong people with important decisions.

    I am personally a huge fan of the job Sandy Alderson has done in stockpiling high-reward talent, but while the pitching pipeline looks solid there are no impact position players anywhere near the major leagues. This is a huge problem when you have as many holes to fill as the Mets. The injuries to Harvey and (potentially) Wheeler should highlight the fact that you cannot have enough young pitching talent in the system, which makes me leery of trading any arms away even to get an impact bat especially one with an injury history attached to it like a Tulowitzki or a Stanton.

    Unfortunately, the best bet for a sustained run of success may be to sign a bunch of veterans, hope they catch lightning in the bottle with another Marlon Byrd, and trust that Lagares will learn to hit a little better, d’Arnaud will continue to improve, and down the line the Cecchinis, the Nimmos, et al take the next step and become impact players at the Major League level over the next few years.

  6. Walnutz15 September 23, 2013 at 10:57 am
    Bravo. I’ve had the same p.o.v. for years now, and have grown accustomed to reading “____ is the least of the Mets’ problems” at every turn.

    It more or less goes hand in hand with another of my favorite internet lines: “straw-man” defense.

    RE: Murphy

    Would love to grab something for him while we still can this winter. Though, as always, this is not to say we should simply give him away.

  7. NormE September 23, 2013 at 11:57 am
    Joe J.,
    I understand your point and I agree with your assessment of Murph. However, given the fact that I don’t think the Mets will be able to solve all their problems in one off-season, I do believe you have to prioritize the team’s needs.
    To me, SS is a bigger problem because neither Quintanilla nor Tejada are close to major league average, whereas Murph is. Yes, I want to upgrade at 2B but SS is my priority.
    Would I trade Murph? In a heartbeat if I could get fair value.
    The same priority would be in place at 1B and OF. They are all holes, but some are deeper than others.
  8. Izzy September 23, 2013 at 12:04 pm
    If u switched out Murphy and Uggla would the Braves be worse off than they are now with a bad fielding second baseman who, while a different type of offensive player than Murphy, is very similar in that he can’t field and makes a lot of bonehead decisions. No. They’d be exactly where they are today. So the problem isn’t Murphy himslef, the problem is the team is bad and Murphy is therefore used as a key part of the offense vice a number 7 hitter. I have lots of problems with Murphy, but he is better than everyone on Joe J’s list. Trade him, and put Flores there, so you have the same guy but cheaper and right handed. OK, make the Wipons happy but Murphy won’t get you a major piece or pieces to fill all the holes. He can be part of a package, that’s all, Or keep him as Dave says use him as a super sub . super sub who will make a few million. Not on this team.
    • Joe Janish September 23, 2013 at 4:20 pm
      I don’t like the Uggla comparison, mainly because Uggla has only played in 130 games and batted 6th or 7th while Murphy has played in 154 of the Mets’ 155 games and been counted on as a prominent piece of the offense — and that’s why I see Murphy not as “the least” of the Mets’ problems but one of their main problems. If Dan Murphy is playing every single day and is one of your top hitters, that’s a major problem — as you already stated.

      So sure, if Murphy was in Atlanta instead of Uggla, they likely wouldn’t be any worse off, but that’s because Murphy wouldn’t be playing 154 games for them. He’d be playing 100 to 130, and probably not all full games. Uggla’s defense is below average, but it’s not as bad as Murphy — particularly when you take into consideration issues that don’t show up anywhere in boxscore nor “advanced metrics,” such as being in the right place for a cutoff. I also don’t think Uggla makes as many boneheaded mistakes on the bases — in fact, I think there are few people in baseball as dumb on the bases as Dan Murphy. (OK, maybe Angel Pagan).

      But in the end, we are pretty much in agreement. Bottom line is that the Mets stink, and have many holes to fill.

  9. DanB September 23, 2013 at 12:08 pm
    NormE, I agree all the holes can’t be filled in one offseason but I completely disagree with you on your priorities I would not prioritize by the problem, I would prioritize by the solution. What I mean is the Mets should make what ever deal to upgrade that requires them giving up the least, no matter the position. As they fill holes, it will be harder to find those last few pieces. Keep as many prospects as you can until then. If a good secondbase is available on the cheap, take him. If a good LF is available, take him.. The position isn’t as important as what the Mets need to give up.
    • DaveSchneck September 23, 2013 at 12:18 pm
      I agree with this approach in concept, but usually not all the choices are available at the same time. Offseason markets come and go, and change throughout ther winter. Alderson cannot afford to gamble, and he cannot afford to wait and let markets pass him by. If he really does have money (wink) and really does intend to spend it to field a comeptitve 2014 team (wink wink), he is going to have to set his priorities and contingencies and act decisively (wink wink wink). Hopefully, he can complete his highest priorities by the end of the winter meetings, and then utilize your approach of lowest cost options (in prospects) by filling in the remaining holes based upon how the market evolves.
  10. James S. September 23, 2013 at 12:55 pm
    Here’s the thought process…Look at it from a Moneyball approach. Murphy is a well above average 2B player by most measures on offense. He’s abismal at defense, but overall has done little to warrant him being traded. However, from a value standpoint, looking at various sources, he’s given us more than enough to compensate for what the Mets could spend similarly for the spot. Cano is going to cost close to >$20mm/year. You might get 2-3 extra wins because of Cano, you might not. Murphy with arbitration will likely be $5mm/year next year. The Mets have to look 3 years into the future, not just 2014. If they go and get Tulowitzki, Cano, Carlos Gonzalez or someone else, there will be a difficult time holding Harvey, Syndergaard, Wheeler and Montero together for any amount of time. You need to build smartly, with guys like Shin-Soo Choo at the top of the order for $10-$12 mm for the next several years. Move Lagares/den Dekker platoon to right field, let Ike Davis go and his soon-to-be $5mm/year arbitration salary, put Duda at 1B, add Hunter Pence for $10-$15mm/year, and your lineup looks like this:

    Choo – >.850 OPS
    Murphy – ~,725 OPS
    Wright – ~.850 OPS
    Pence – >.800 OPS
    Duda – >.750 OPS
    d’Arnaud – ~.750 OPS (once he gets comfortable?)
    Lagares/den Dekker – ~.625 OPS
    Puello/Tejada/Q – ~.600 OPS

    This lineup will have ample table-setters and RBI producers. This roster will only cost the Mets ~$70mm to put together ahead of 2015’s better free-agent class and a possible healthy Harvey post-surgery (if that ends up happening). Then, you can go big to get Hanley Ramirez in 2015 for $20mm/year and possibly Billy Butler for $10-$15/year at 1B. Then, you’d have close to $100mm payroll but a top-to-bottom stud lineup with a rotation that would be one of the best in baseball (and cheapest).

    • argonbunnies September 23, 2013 at 3:01 pm
      I like this approach, and if I had to guess one FA the Mets will get, it would be Pence (who was awful in 2012, so we’ll have to cross our fingers). The biggest problem I see is that Choo and Pence will have many suitors in a talentless market, and no player will come to the awful Mets unless the Mets outbid everyone else. It’s hard for me to imagine a scenario where we get Choo and Pence and aren’t paying them a combined $30mil in 2017 when they’re both 34.

      I also think that projecting a .750 OPS for d’Arnaud in 2014 is insane. Hopefully he’ll get there someday, but we’ve seen that there will be growing pains. With a less productive #6, your lineup really relies on the #5 guy.

      I’d switch Duda and Murph. Yeah, Duda can clog the bases, but he gets on more than Murph, and Murph can drive in people with singles from the #5 spot.

      Overall it’s an okay lineup, not great, and teams win with lineups like this when they have good pitching and defense. CF and 3B appear to be the only defensive strengths here, though every position should be adequate (except maybe SS). The pitching probably needs a healthy Harvey plus a good new middle of the rotation guy and late-inning reliever. That might make us a WC contender. Hmm…

      • crozier September 23, 2013 at 5:26 pm
        Spot on, argon. This isn’t 1983, convincing Keith to re-up because of Strawberry, Gooden, and other bright spots pointing to a rosy future. The only way to bring a FA to the team is by bidding highest – i.e., over-paying. It’s a depressing scenario that the future simply doesn’t look bright enough, the way it does in Pittsburgh, KC, Cleveland, and at least five other cities.

        Not Philadelphia, though. So there’s that. But such “victories” ring kind of hollow these days. Kind of like the hollow achievement of finishing third this year.

  11. Sparks September 23, 2013 at 2:21 pm
    I whole-heartedly agree.

    I like Murphy. I really do. The job he’s done has been beyond admirable. However, there is no way on earth a team with him at 2b is ever going to be a post-season threat. As you state, strong defense up the middle is a hallmark of successful teams. The near future of the Mets rests heavily rely on starting pitching. You can’t follow through on that if you’re OK with leading the universe in infield singles.

    Murphy is fantastic for what the Mets are today. For what I want to see them be in the future, he’s a bat without a position.

    • crozier September 23, 2013 at 5:22 pm
      The 2006 Mets were a fine team with several very average players (or at least players having average seasons): LoDuca, Floyd, Nady, and Valentin all had OPS+ of under 110. It makes a big difference when you have Beltran, Delgado, and Wright providing your offense.

      It would be an extraordinary turn of events to get two players as good as either Beltran or Delgado, but with a couple more good bats in the lineup, marginal players like Murphy and Duda would supplement the offense just fine.

      I’m not a crazy person; I know the odds of this happening are slim. But your contention that the Mets can’t win with Murphy is off base; they absolutely can. He just can’t be valued as a critical path to success.

      • Sparks September 24, 2013 at 2:56 am
        Exactly, but that’s kinda the whole point. A bat elsewhere in the lineup plus a more average player (i.e., less offense but more defense) at 2nd base equals a similar offense with a defensive upgrade. You get that chance, you make the deal.

        You may be confusing the cause and effect when I say “there is no way on earth a team with him at 2b is ever going to be a post-season threat.” It’s not that Murphy at 2nd makes you lose. It’s that the biggest reason for keeping him there is the kind of horrendous lack of offense at other positions that keeps a team out of the playoffs.

  12. NormE September 23, 2013 at 2:26 pm
    James, your moves sound good but I think you are not realistic in putting a $$ tag on the free agents. With few top notch free agents available the market may rise very rapidly.
    In addition, some of the free agents (ex: Pence) may want to stay with their present club.

    DanB, the argument of prioritizing by the solution is not necessarily in conflict with prioritizing by the problem. You do the latter first, but keep an open mind on opportunities that arise to help solve other problems. It’s a case of being flexible and having a wide focus.

    • DaveSchneck September 23, 2013 at 2:46 pm
      You are spot on on the price tags of Cho and Pence. The combination of supply and demand combined with an injection of new TV money will push those annual avg salaries much higher, and on top of that the Mets will need to overpay to recruit a hitter to a losing team at Citifield. Nonetheless, it still may be a better approach than parting with a load of prospects. Lastly on James’ suggestion, no way they will move Lagares or Den Dekker from CF for Choo. Choo is a bad fielding CF, he will play a corner.
  13. friend September 23, 2013 at 2:36 pm
    Sigh, the least of the Mets’ problems is trying to figure out the least of their problems.
  14. argonbunnies September 23, 2013 at 3:27 pm
    As a Mets fan, I’m tired of watching Murphy’s flaws. I’m ready for a new guy with different flaws. Every defensive swipe at a 1-1 pitch off the outside corner drives me nuts. Every soft grounder not charged, every attempt to steal 3rd with 2 outs… I’m sick of it.

    Murphy has some talent with the bat, and he’s not getting the most out of it. If there’s one constant that’s pervaded the Mets from 2007 till now, it’s “underachieving”. Replace Murphy with, say, David Eckstein in his prime, and you have a different sort of team. Perhaps an outsider would look at a 13th round draft pick holding down an MLB job and call him an over-achiever, but having watched the guy hit much better in the past, I can’t agree.

    Who was the last Mets hitter we’ve seen bring the intense focus on every pitch and truly get the most out of his ability? On the mound, we’ve seen it from Pedro and Santana and Dickey and Harvery, but at the plate, I dunno, maybe LoDuca? Wright in the second half of 2007 and the first half of 2012?

    Anyway, if some team out there needs a 3B to hit 6th and drive in its middle-of-the-order guys with some singles, I bet Murphy would be a great fit, and hopefully they’ll give us something useful back.

  15. argonbunnies September 23, 2013 at 3:43 pm
    I think “biggest problem” is tough to define, as it ought to factor in competition and availability (Murphy’s no problem at all if the other 29 teams’ 2Bs are worse).

    If I had to pick one problem for the Mets to solve, I’d say “cleanup hitter”. Most other teams seem better off in that department. It should be possible to upgrade.

    Shortstop is next. Should we trade Syndergaard for the Cubs’ Javier Baez? Both guys dominated at A+ and AA in their age 20 seasons.

    • TexasGusCC September 24, 2013 at 1:45 am
      YESSSS. You can find another Syndergaard, but you can’t find a Baez very easily. Those power numbers at SS are eye popping.
    • Sidd Finch September 24, 2013 at 1:22 pm
      The Cubs aren’t trading Baez. That’s especially clear after reading that Baez is willing to move off SS and play any position. He’s to the Cubs what Manny Machado was to the O’s a couple of years ago-franchise player of the future to build around.
  16. James S. September 23, 2013 at 3:44 pm
    Norm, Dave and Others, you make a very good point, which I actually had been making for several months with a colleague of mine at work. 2015 Free Agents are far deeper than that of 2014. Still like Choo and Pence and could see them leaving their current homes without too much problem as the Reds are looking at a lot of inflation as Votto/Phillips/Bruce will eat up $33mm growing to $45mm over the next three years. Adding Choo at an inflated price tag won’t be viable for a mid-market team like the Reds. Pence will want out of San Fran if he truly wants a shot at another World Series in his future. If not, San Fran is a gorgeous place to play.

    But, beyond that this was my original thought process. Sign a single free agent this year (possibly Pence or Choo), especially if Harvey ends up missing 2014. Selling point is that 2014 we’ll be competitive for the playoffs. 2015 we’ll compete for the World Series. In 2015, we watch as the last $7mm of Jason Bay’s extended pay system comes off the books, you try to get Ike Davis to try out for first basemen of the future one more year or trade him after 2014. Then you go after talent in 2015 including Butler, Ramirez and possibly either Nick Markakis (assuming he rebounds after this season next year) or Colby Rasmus for the outfield. Again, selling point is the pitching depth and pieces coming together on the every-day side of things.

    Lineup is then:


    Young Jr.
    Lagares/den Dekker
    Best In-house Shortstop

    Free Agent

    2015 is Go For it All Team:

    Lagares/den Dekker

    Syndergaard (Called up in 2014)
    Montero (Called up in 2014)

    Could also contemplate trading 2nd year of Arbitration Gee and Duda/Davis or both Duda & Davis to Toronto for Jose Bautista or send them to Colorado for Carlos Gonzalez. Could also trade Hefner or Montero for prospects to back fill. Issue is that my first approach takes our salaries up to $70-$75mm (with the inflation you point out wisely for Choo and Pence, it could be $80+mm easily). But, 2015 team in first case still ends up around $100-$110mm. In this second case, you’re probably looking at $120-$130mm, easily. Not sure if Wilpons can afford that. Just something to think through as Alderson was brought in to try to grow as many wins as possible at the lowest possible cost. And, despite what they say publicly about ability to spend in future years, that’s fairly obvious.

    • Joe Janish September 23, 2013 at 4:38 pm
      Will Choo and/or Pence be free agents given qualifying offers? If so, and the Mets don’t finish in the bottom 10, will they go after them?

      Even if they do go after Choo/Pence, aren’t there at least a dozen other teams in the mix making offers?

      Gee and Duda/Davis for Bautista or CarGo. I’m not seeing it, unless Harvey/Wheeler are thrown into the deal.

  17. crozier September 23, 2013 at 5:01 pm
    Given the number of comments, and the sheer volume of text, it’s for certain the first part of my comment gets no argument: Go Murph! You’ll drive up the sales of Met memorabilia featured on Mets Today yet.

    If I could offer one clarification, however, it’s that I never implied that Murph was “the least of the Mets problems.” However, offense at first and the corner OF positions are far more critical to their eventual success. With two impact players at minimum – please, don’t ask me where they come from, or who whom, or how much – Murphy would provide adequate-to-good support in the #7 slot (or, if he ups his OPB to .350, #2).

    To me, it’s blindingly clear that 1B/LF/RF are by far the MOST of the Mets problems. If Murph is trade bait for such acquisitions, great; let Turner/Flores figure out 2B next year; they won’t do much worse (Joe J and argon say better, and I won’t argue with them). But he won’t be a detriment to their success if they somehow find a way to fill the other vacancies.

    • NormE September 23, 2013 at 7:14 pm
      I get your argument concerning Murph and the Mets’ needs. However, I do feel that SS should go to the top of the list. It’s considered more of a “skill” position than 1B or OF. It’s really hard to see any success in the Mets future with Quintanilla/Tejada at SS. It’s usually easier to find an OF or 1B.
      • crozier September 23, 2013 at 7:38 pm
        I guess this is my Raphael Santana Defense, then. To your point, it’s easier to find an outfielder or first baseman, so let’s see them do it. Without offense, the Mets aren’t contenders. With it, they can get away with mediocrity here and there. Of course, if they get Troy, problem solved. But I’d be shocked if that happened.
        • NormE September 23, 2013 at 11:43 pm
          The old Rafael Santana ploy, heh? Well done, Crozier. I was thinking of that as I wrote of my belief of the need to prioritize SS. The ’86 Mets were the exception to the rule about a team needing to be strong up the middle. The poor hitting Raffy had sure hands and an accurate arm. But his arm was weak and his range was non-existent. With Keith expanding the range at 1B, Wally/Tim could shade more to the right. It was not the ideal situation. The Mets won in spite of their SS.
  18. James S. September 23, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    As for qualifying offers, agree with view. Question is value of the draft spot relative to short-term horizon to win. I think we’d all agree that losing a draft pick hurts, but given I work in oil & gas, the key is always that the value of a proven asset outweighs considerably the value of a prospect. I agree that others will be putting offers on the table, and the Mets will pay up, which goes back to why the Mets would most likely pursue Option 2 of my two long posts (i.e. one big piece this year and go all-in for 2015).

    One thing I always forget to mention is the value of trading one of the starting arms as the get more expensive through the next few years:

    Gee will cost $3mm next year
    Hefner will cost $3mm in 2015

    As for bats, could utilize Lagares, Flores, den Dekker, Duda, Davis in various trades as well to fill out the roster appropriately.

    All good trade pieces in the coming years.

    But, still feel like 2014 is another step on the rebuilding path and 2015 is the real year to get excited for.

  19. argonbunnies September 23, 2013 at 5:35 pm
    Wheeler & Flores for Tulowitzki. Who says no?
    • crozier September 23, 2013 at 5:54 pm
      Mmmmm…Colorado says no? I think you have to chip in a prospect, if not two. Jacob deGrom gets a decent number of ground balls, according to reports.
  20. Dan B September 23, 2013 at 5:47 pm
    This offseason will bring clarity to the future of the Wilpons’ Mets. On one extreme we have the Mets spending money on free agents and investing in the team. On the other extreme we have excuses for not spending on salary and Wright trade rumors being floated. Good news Joe J, either way will create much debate.
    • argonbunnies September 23, 2013 at 6:10 pm
      Replace “Wright trade rumors” (not gonna happen) with “hyping mediocre prospects”, and I agree.

      Remember, a year and a half ago, Duda, Tejada, Nieuwenhuis, Edgin and Valdespin all could have been awesome! Alderson mentioned them as reasons to expect an improved team. Who’s next? Probably Lagares, den Dekker, deGrom, Familia and Black.

      • Dan B September 23, 2013 at 9:24 pm
        I hope not but Wright’s contract takes a big jump next season and I am still not confident the Wilpons are in the position to take on more losses. Until the Wilpon’s financial situation improves I have little hope.
  21. Kanehl September 23, 2013 at 6:00 pm
    At this point, the Mets have 2 established MLB-quality everyday players- Wright and Murphy. We have 2 young CFs who are great gloves but haven’t yet shown they have even league average bats (that might be an OK tradeoff, if we can build an otherwise competitive lineup). We have a highly-touted catching prospect, who is frequently on the DL at a very young age and has yet to establish himself as an MLB hitter. We have no legitimate starting SS, B, LF (unless a .649 OPS is what you’re looking for) and no RF. Out of 8 starting positions, that’s 2 Yes, 2 Maybe, and 4 Nada. So, yeah, I’d say the Mets have bigger problems than whether Murphy is a bit above average 2B. I think the reason there’s so much focus on him is that (a) other than Wright, what other position player is worth debating? and (b) he may have some trade value. And, if he can be part of a package that gets us a position player who can make more of a difference, by all means pull the trigger. But he’s not part of the problem.
  22. The King September 25, 2013 at 11:58 pm
    Call me crazy–you will, but I suggest going after Cano big time and moving Murph to 1st. He’ll be better there than at 2nd, and we can avoid the annual drama of waiting for either Davis/Duda to start hitting. As for all the other holes, first things first.
  23. Joe September 26, 2013 at 1:12 am
    It is not even debatable that Murphy has been a “disgrace.” I find that ridiculous. The guy has made some bad decisions, but as a whole, CONTINUOUSLY has been one of the few bright spots on this team. So, I’m tired of singling out him here. It’s tedious. When IZZY finds it a bit off …

    He isn’t really a 2B, fine, but until other holes are filled, so what? Someone on another blog said he would work on a “world series worthy team” or some such. Yeah. Even there, the Braves might be one. If they had Murphy, they would survive. He also might have better coaching elsewhere too to deal with some of his bad decisions.

    The team needs a 1B, SS and two corner outfielders, though they might ‘make do’ with what they have on one or two of these. They probably need at least one more starter. They probably can use another bullpen arm. They have an acceptable 2B who is a decent hitter, especially if had more protection.

    If he can be traded for something useful w/o just opening up a hole, fine, trade him. He’s not Wright, he’s dispensable. But, yeah, a guy who gives the team spirit (though some don’t care about that — it’s fantasy baseball, interchangeable parts), became a perfectly serviceable 2B after just shifting to the role what two years ago?, would be a useful hitter on some other team (if not, talk of trading is stupid anyway) etc. is “the least of their problems.”

    Harvey’s health is a problem. Making sure Parnell comes back. Getting a few more bats. Murphy is not. And, why not keep him just to have someone to sneer at? Seems that is a value for some people.

  24. Hobie September 26, 2013 at 8:33 am
    If Murphy is a bright spot,I’ll take darkness.