Daniel Murphy, hitting .298 with a .353 OBP, has been one of the lone offensive bright spots for the Mets in 2014. He’s in his seventh season with the club, is well liked, durable, and in his prime. There have been reports, though, that the Mets may look to deal him – perhaps before the July 31 trade deadline.
The Mets trading Murphy wouldn’t be a sign that they’re giving up on the season, nor would it be a slight on Murphy’s current value. Rather, it would be more of a preemptive move made in order to get a premium back for Murphy before he becomes more expensive/hits free agency.
There are questions to be asked regarding just why the Mets would deal Murphy. Would they be doing it because they don’t feel that he’s worth what he’s about to get paid, or because they won’t be able to afford what Murphy is expected to get when he hits free agency after 2015?
Either way, the Murphy trade rumors are out there, and won’t go away until the deadline passes.
Writes Andy Martino in the Daily News:
The San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays are among the teams who have done preliminary homework on Murphy, asking around for opinions on him, according to major league sources. Toronto had a scout in Miami this weekend; a possible coincidence, but still.
It seems more likely that the team will remain inactive before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline — but still, there are reasons to suspect they will consider moving their second baseman. Remember that the front office was eager to trade Murphy as recently as last December, when it actively shopped him at the winter meetings.
During that week in Orlando, the Mets felt that they valued Murphy far more than other teams did, and were unable to find an appealing offer. But now, as one Mets person put it, “teams will give up something in July.”
If the Mets have already determined that they’re not interested in re-signing Murphy after the 2015 season, dealing him now – while his value can be maximized – would make sense.
The question, is what the Mets can expect in return for Murphy.
With the Mets deep in high-upside pitching throughout all levels of the organization, the club should be looking to acquire an established impact position player or one that’s close to the majors.
The Blue Jays are in contention, so they won’t likely be willing to deal an impact piece from their big league roster. As far as the minors, Toronto doesn’t have any impact position prospects who are close to the majors, making a fit with the Mets a tough one.
Like the Blue Jays, the Giants are both in contention and devoid of any position prospects with impact potential who are close to contributing in the majors.
The Mets should certainly test the waters on Murphy, but it’s tough to see them moving him if the Giants and Blue Jays are the only serious suitors.