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Burning Questions: Why trade Murph?

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The Mets are interested in trading Daniel Murphy, their lone 2014 All-Star.NEW YORK -- Daniel Murphy earned his first All-Star appearance this season. His 172 hits, 37 doubles and .289 average all led New York Mets regulars.

So why do team officials seem so interested in trading him? After all, the Mets have been offensively deficient overall and Murphy has been deemed an ideal hitter for Citi Field by Terry Collins because he uses the entire field.

Start with the money, it appears.

Murphy earned $5.7 million this season, is eligible for arbitration one more time, then is due to become a free agent after the 2015 season.

Daniel Murphy

Daniel Murphy

#28 2B
New York Mets

2014 STATS

  • GM143
  • HR9

  • RBI57

  • R79

  • OBP.332

  • AVG.289

So, basically, it is time for the Mets to decide to retain Murphy via a contract extension or look to get some return before he walks as a free agent in a year.

And although Murphy has expressed a willingness to talk contract, Mets officials have shown no inclination to engage him. Apparently they do not view him as $10 million a year player going forward.

So it’s time to deal.

Murphy is bound to make at least $8 million next season. And once he hits free agency, it would seem likely he would get at least a three-year, $30 million contract.

Murphy turns 30 next April 1.

The Mets likely are looking at metrics that suggest Murphy is not quite as valuable as a cursory look at his offensive numbers suggest.

Of course, Murphy produced only nine home runs this season. More damning, ESPN’s Mark Simon notes that Murphy -- despite having made strides at second base -- is a serious liability there. He has been at minus-10 or worse in Defensive Runs Saved for three straight seasons. That “neutralizes,” to use Simon’s wording, the 2.0 WAR that Murphy produced with his bat.

So do the Mets end up trading Murphy?

Well, they’re not going to give him away. In an ideal world, trading Murphy would return an outfielder with some power who hits from the right side, perhaps with a similar contract status as Murphy. Trading Murphy also would free up dollars to allot elsewhere, which is something you wish a New York club would not feel compelled to have to do.

One team insider noted it might make more sense to wait until the trade deadline to deal Murphy. At that point, the Mets might find a team in need of a bat and willing to rent Murphy for a half-season with the type of return approaching what Carlos Beltran commanded -- Zack Wheeler.

Still, one high-ranking official downplayed that scenario. The logic: If the Mets are in contention, as they expect to be in 2015, how could they sell off a piece on July 31?

As a result, the expectation is that the Mets will make serious overtures about trading Murphy this offseason.

It was documented in correspondence posted online without authorization that the Mets engaged the Houston Astros last winter in talks about Murphy and the proposed return involving shortstop Jonathan Villar.

Perhaps that was a deal best not made. Villar, 23, hit .209 in 263 at-bats for Houston this past season.

The good news: If the Mets do trade Murphy, they have ample options to succeed him at second base, including Wilmer Flores, Dilson Herrera and Matt Reynolds.

Stay tuned.

Question: Are the Mets misguided in their enthusiasm for trading Daniel Murphy?