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Dilson Herrera 'a viable alternative' to Daniel Murphy at second base

NEW YORK -- The New York Mets are expected to make a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer to free agent Daniel Murphy by Friday’s deadline. While general manager Sandy Alderson would not confirm that the organization already has reached that conclusion, the general manager did label prospect Dilson Herrera “a viable alternative from within the organization” to succeed Murphy at second base.

Assuming the Mets can bring in a capable offensive bat in the outfield to offset the expected departure of free-agent Yoenis Cespedes, the club is prepared to use a middle-infield combination of Wilmer Flores, Ruben Tejada and the 21-year-old Herrera in 2016.

Herrera was acquired on Aug. 27, 2013 from the Pittsburgh Pirates in a trade for Marlon Byrd and John Buck. He hit .211 with three homers and six RBIs in 90 at-bats in the majors this season.

The Mets would get a draft pick if they made Murphy a qualifying offer and he signed elsewhere. He potentially could get a deal of four-plus years elsewhere after earning National League Championship Series MVP honors.

As for how the Mets reach a decision about whether to make a qualifying offer, Alderson said: “Take it out of the Murphy context. I think you have to start with whether you want the player back. If you decide the answer is yes, then it’s easy to make a qualifying offer. If you decide no, then you get to the question of, for gamesmanship purposes, whether making a qualifying offer is a good idea. Murph has been a great player for us over the years. He’s been a Met over his entire career. So we’re going to make that decision a little later this week.”