As much of a crowd favorite that he is, the best trading chip the Mets have is Daniel Murphy, and it’s time to give considerable thought towards moving him. At twenty-eight years of age, he is entering his prime years, and doesn’t become eligible for free agency until the 2016 season. For their efforts, a receiving ball club will have at least that long to either come to terms with him, or arrive at some other determination. Murphy has demonstrated he can sustain a batting average above .300 for prolonged periods, he displays occasional power, and is otherwise a doubles hitting machine. Daniel has also proven defensively capable at second base, as well as first base.
You can certainly argue those are all reasons to keep him, and I’d be okay with that. However, blind love is a prohibitive element when trying to reconstruct a floundering ball club. Think of it this way – if we can continually fall to the Fish in embarrassing fashion with Daniel Murphy, then we can continue doing so without him. By himself, trading Daniel Murphy will not recover enough to appreciably improve the Mets. However, packaged together with other players, the potential return could be very worthwhile.
Opening the door for such conversation is the steady development of Wilmer Flores. Currently playing second base for the Las Vegas 51’s, Wilmer is making a strong case for his own promotion. With 241 at-bats under his belt as of Monday morning, his batting average is up to .303 this season, with twenty-one doubles, five home runs, and an impressive forty-five runs batted in. He is a classic contact hitter as he only struck out twenty-eight times, but has only drawn fifteen walks. His .348 OBP bounced off his current batting average bears that out. Defensively, Murphy actually has Flores beat. Daniel so far has a .984 fielding percentage, versus Wilmer’s .970 mark resulting from six errors in 198 chances at second.
Wilmer Flores will turn twenty-two years old in August. Last year, he batted .289 in 242 at-bats for Port St. Lucie, and .311 for Binghamton in 251 at-bats. He finished the season hitting for a combined .300 average, with thirty doubles, and seven-five RBI’s in 493 total at-bats.
The Mets have many holes to fill between now and the start of the 2014 regular season. By sticking with Wilmer Flores, the cost conscious Mets may be able to have another cost controlled player at second base, as Daniel Murphy’s arbitration eligible years dwindle down towards inevitable free agency. As they have a potential second baseman who is now on the graduating end of a natural and productive progression through the farm system ready to step in, it is my opinion Daniel Murphy should be moved to help upgrade the overall talent on the team.