Daniel Murphy Rumors

NL East Notes: Murphy, Lee, Marlins

Here’s the latest from the National League East …

  • In his latest Mets inbox, MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo writes that he can’t envision the club trading Daniel Murphy this summer due to Sandy Alderson’s precedent for not wanting to deal proven commodities. He does provide a list of reasons to back up his belief that the Mets should be shopping Murphy, and he notes that Alderson has wavered at times, dealing Carlos Beltran and Marlon Byrd.
  • Cliff Lee remains on track to return by the All-Star break, reports Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly.com. That would presumably give him at least a few starts to establish his value before the trade deadline (though it is fair to note that Lee could be a plausible August trade candidate). Seidman looks at the market for Lee from the Phils’ perspective, breaking down four possible trade partners (Yankees, Blue Jays, Angels, and Orioles) and what they might be willing and able to offer if Lee is made available.
  • The Marlins will base their buy/sell stance in part upon whether the team is within striking distance not only of the wild card, but also the division, reports the Miami Herald’s Clark Spencer“Just looking right now, I would tell you the best shot may be the division,” said GM Dan Jennings. Indeed, the NL East remains largely wide open. If the club does buy, Jennings confirmed prior reports that starting pitching appears a likely target. “Our starting pitching needs to step up a notch,” said Jennings, who explained that the club “loves” recent call-ups Andrew Heaney and Anthony DeSclafani but must assess how they perform at the MLB level at this early stage of their careers.

Steve Adams contributed to this post.


Quick Hits: Cardinals, Sizemore, Murphy, Dodgers

The Cardinals are down not one but two pitchers, Michael Wacha and Jaime Garcia, after losing them both to shoulder injuries, MLB.com’s Jen Langosch writes. Wacha has what GM John Mozeliak called a “stress reaction,” and will miss several weeks. “He has been dealing with a little bit of shoulder irritation going back [four to five starts],” said Mozeliak. “Up to this point, we always thought it was manageable.” Garcia could not complete his regular bullpen session Sunday. The Cardinals are placing both pitchers on the disabled list, and they will announce corresponding moves on Monday. Here are more notes from throughout the big leagues.

  • Grady Sizemore is likely to decide on a new team early this week, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe tweets. Sizemore became a free agent Friday after the Red Sox designated him for assignment. In his first big-league action since 2011, Sizemore hit .216/.288/.324 in 205 plate appearances in Boston.
  • The Blue Jays and Giants have had interest in Daniel Murphy, but the most likely outcome is that the Mets keep him, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News writes. In a “mediocre” NL East division, Martino writes, the Mets do not seem to view themselves as sellers. That doesn’t mean the Mets won’t deal Murphy, of course — GM Sandy Alderson sent Marlon Byrd to the Pirates last year soon after indicating the Mets wouldn’t deal him, so his actions can be hard to predict.
  • The Yankees need a starting pitcher, but they probably won’t be able to get top trade possibilities like David Price or Jeff Samardzija, Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes. The Rays won’t want to trade Price to a divisional opponent. For Samardzija, the Cubs want a highly-rated young pitcher who’s close to being ready for the big leagues, and the Yankees don’t have that type of player. That means the Yankees could get someone like John Danks of the White Sox, Jason Hammel of the Cubs or Ian Kennedy of the Padres.
  • As the trade deadline approaches, the Dodgers‘ greatest need is in their bullpen, but that doesn’t mean they can’t count on improvements from relievers they already have, ESPN Los Angeles’ Mark Saxon writes. Kenley Jansen, in particular, has been working on his mechanics, and he pitched very well on Saturday and Sunday. In any case, Saxon notes that the Dodgers likely won’t let guaranteed contracts for relievers they already have (presumbably, players like Brian Wilson and Chris Perez, who have struggled) prevent them from adding talent on the trade market.
  • The Tigers‘ bullpen has an unexpected look recently, with the additions of minor league veterans Pat McCoy, Chad Smith and Blaine Hardy. Hardy, 27, has pitched well in four appearances so far even though he hadn’t pitched in the big leagues before last week. “You’ve got to stick with it, and that’s exactly what I tried to do. Just keep playing, hopefully get the opportunity, and here I am,” the lefty told MLive.com’s Chris Iott. The Royals drafted Hardy in the 22nd round out of college, then released him during spring training in 2013. He pitched three scoreless innings against them in his first two big-league appearances last week.

Mets Notes: Murphy, Wright, Trades, Seratelli

The Mets made Daniel Murphy available this past offseason but put a high price on the second baseman's services, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports, including asking the Orioles for top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy.  Murphy has been working hard this spring to increase his value to the Mets, focusing on making more contact at the plate and reaching base more often (Murphy only had a .319 OBP last season).  "On-base and slugging, this is what teams want," Murphy said.  "This is what drives the offensive market now. They want you to be able to get on base, and when you do get base hits, they want them to be doubles. So I think that our game is heading in that direction. I think (the Mets are) probably a little bit farther, maybe out in front a little bit of the curve."

Here's some more from the Amazins' camp…

  • "I'm not a mercenary," David Wright tells Bob Klapsich of the Bergen Record, as the Mets third baseman insisted that he has no regrets over staying with the team through their ongoing rebuilding process.  "If my goal was to win right this second, then obviously, I would've been a free agent," Wright said.  "To me, it was important to show loyalty to the Mets.  I grew up rooting for them, they drafted me when I was 18, they're the only team I've ever played for."  Klapisch, however, opines that the Mets haven't shown that same loyalty to Wright by not spending more to make the team competitive.
  • The Mets' rebuild could be spurred by making trades rather than free agent signings, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes that if the Mets are willing to expand their payroll, they have the minor league depth to acquire expensive star players from teams who are themselves looking to rebuild or unload salaries.
  • After eight seasons in the minors, 31-year-old Anthony Seratelli is still looking for his first taste of the majors, and now the New Jersey native has a chance close to home after he signed a minor league deal with the Mets earlier this offseason.  MLB.com's Anthony DiComo profiles Seratelli's career, his video-editing talents and how he is inspired to keep playing by the tragic losses of his father and grandmother.
    “If my goal was to win right this second, then obviously, I would’ve been a free agent,” Wright said. “To me, it was more important to show loyalty to the Mets. I grew up rooting for them, they drafted me when I was 18, they’re the only team I’ve ever played for.” – See more at: http://www.northjersey.com/sports/Klapisch_Mets_rebirth_vital_for_David_Wright.html?c=y&page=1#sthash.2fJKHX8T.dpu


NL East Notes: Murphy, Braves, Espinosa

Here are a few notes out of the National League East: 

  • Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy says that he would be open to extension talk, but that none have taken place to date, reports MLB.com's Anthony DiComo. Explaining that he would leave his contract situation to his agent, Murphy said that he already feels lucky for his situation. "What is comfort? Is it money?" asked Murphy. "I've made an ungodly amount of money. That's the only way to describe it. … You see an organization heading in the direction that we're heading, it's an exciting time. So you always want to be a part of that. However that looks — one-year deals or whatever that looks like — other than playing well, that is a little bit out of my control as well. But I do want to be a part of the solution."
  • The Braves' extension strategy has drawn plenty of recent attention, and the presence of senior advisor John Hart — the former Indians GM who authored the advent of the extension era decades ago — surely played a role. Ben Lindbergh of Baseball Prospectus recently engaged Hart in a fascinating interview on the topic of extensions. Hart continued to discuss the moves of his current club with MLB.com's Mark Bowman, focusing in particular on the situation of Jason Heyward, whose two-year deal did not buy out any free agent campaigns. "I never did deals with guys who were arbitration eligible unless I got something back," said Hart. "I didn't want to just take a guy through his arbitration years. But I think in the case of Heyward, it was a phenomenal strategy, and the message was clearly delivered that they really like this guy and they want to keep this guy. Nobody knows where his ceiling is, it hasn't been defined yet because he has had a lot of injuries coming along." 
  • The Nationals chose to give second baseman Danny Espinosa a raise to $540K (during time spent on the MLB roster) in spite of his tough 2013, reports Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post. Though Espinosa had been on track to qualify for arbitration this year, his demotion (and lack of a September call-up) left him short. That bought the team an extra year of control and another season at just above the league minimum rate. The 26-year-old has drawn significant trade interest from teams looking for a cheap opportunity to return him to form, but the Nationals appear likely to use him as a bench piece and keep his upside in house.

Mets, Daniel Murphy Avoid Arbitration

The Mets have avoided arbitration with second baseman Daniel Murphy by coming to terms on a one-year, $5.7MM contract, according to ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin (on Twitter). Murphy can earn an additional $50K for reaching 500 plate appearances — a feat he's accomplished with ease in each of the past two seasons. Murphy is represented by ACES.

Murphy is in his second year of arbitration eligibility and is controllable through the 2015 season for the Mets. His $5.7MM salary comes in just $100K shy of MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz's $5.8MM projection, although he'd slice that difference in half upon reaching 500 PAs. The Mets still have yet to come to an agreement with Dillon Gee or Lucas Duda, as shown in MLBTR's Arb Tracker.


New York Notes: Reynolds, Baker, Murphy, Tejada

Earlier today, the Yankees reached agreements with both Brian Roberts and Matt Thornton.They're likely to continue adding pieces, however. A source confirmed to Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News (Twitter link) that the Yanks have spoken to Mark Reynolds' agent, though nothing is close on that front. Here's the latest on Reynolds, the Yankees and the Mets…

  • The Yankees are in on Reynolds, tweets Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, but they'll face competition from the TwinsAngels and others in their attempt to land him.
  • Joel Sherman of the New York Post reports that the Yankees have also expressed interest in Jeff Baker as a potential right-handed bat to get some time at second base and third base (Twitter link). Baker mashed against lefties in 2013, posting a .314/.407/.667 batting line with 10 homers.
  • Daniel Murphy has seen his name in trade rumors this offseason, but he says his agents came away from the Winter Meetings with the impression that he'll be with the Mets in 2014, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.  Sources tell Rubin that the Mets continue to listen on Murphy, but the asking price is high.
  • Mets GM Sandy Alderson says that two to three teams are potential trade partners at shortstop, although the chances of Ruben Tejada starting Opening Day at the position are much better than at the end of the season, Rubin writes.  "Well, I think it is more likely certainly than it was a couple of months ago, let's say," the GM said. "But we've improved the team at other positions. And so giving Ruben a chance to reestablish himself as an everyday player isn't such a bad thing. But we'll continue to monitor what's there from the trade market and conceivably free agency, although there really isn't much left there. There are two or three teams that are possibilities."
  • Alderson also suggested he would be looking for an equivalent return to what others have received for trading first basemen. The Marlins got 23-year-old Carter Capps from the Mariners for Logan Morrison last week.
  • The Mets GM expects a fifth-starter candidate to be signed on a minor-league deal.  That would allow Jenrry Mejia, Jacob deGrom, and Rafael Montero to compete for a spot out of spring training and help ensure that top prospect Noah Syndergaard would not be blocked from a summer promotion.
  • While it's not a huge surprise, Alderson downplayed the Mets' odds of landing Masahiro Tanaka.

Zach Links contributed to this post.


Sherman On Mets, D-Backs, Masterson, Rasmus

It's still early on Day Three of the Winter Meetings in Orlando, but Joel Sherman of the New York Post is coming out of the gate with a few items of note. Let's dive in and round them up…

  • An increasingly crowded first base trade market may make it difficult for the Mets to acquire a solid return for Ike Davis, as Sherman outlines in a column.
  • Sherman adds in the same piece that the Mets have placed a "significant return cost" on Daniel Murphy, but people around the league continue to believe he could be dealt.
  • With Tyler Skaggs headed to the Angels, the Diamondbacks may no longer have the trade pieces to pry Jeff Samardzija away from the Cubs. However, Sherman says (via Twitter) that the D-Backs would now "really love" to acquire Justin Masterson from the Indians.
  • The Toronto Sun's Bob Elliott reported on Tuesday that the Blue Jays had offered Colby Rasmus to a pair of teams in exchange for starting pitching, and it sounds as if Rasmus remains in play. Sherman tweets that the Jays will use Rasmus to try to land a starter.

Mets Exploring Ike Davis, Daniel Murphy Trades

9:06pm: Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets that the Orioles aren't "hot" for either Davis or Murphy at the moment, while Jim Duquette of MLB Network Radio says Baltimore's talks for Murphy are "way overblown" (Twitter link).

8:00pm: The Mets aren't pushing to move Murphy, but remain open to a trade, according to Marc Carig of Newsday. Carig adds that Davis appears more likely to be dealt than Murphy (Twitter links).

7:25pm: While they may not be seriously in the mix for Davis, the Orioles appear to be a legit suitor for Murphy, says Joel Sherman of the New York Post (via Twitter). Sherman also adds the Rays to the list of potential destinations for Davis.

6:44pm: The Mets are pushing "very hard" to move Murphy, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). As for Davis, the Orioles don't appear to be a serious suitor. Mike Puma of the New York Post hears that Baltimore's interest is "distant" at the moment (Twitter link).

5:36pm: The Mets and Brewers met today to revisit the possibility of an Ike Davis trade, reports Adam McCalvy of MLB.com (Twitter link). Newsday's Marc Carig is hearing the same thing, tweeting that Milwaukee is one of four teams engaged with the Mets about the first baseman.

We initially heard nearly a month ago that the Brewers and Mets had discussed the idea of a trade that would send Davis to Milwaukee. Corey Hart remains a possibility for Milwaukee at first base, but it doesn't sound like the club is closing in on a deal for either player, as McCalvy indicates that the team has laid the groundwork on both fronts.

Andy Martino of the New York Daily News adds (via Twitter) that there doesn't seem to be much traction yet on a deal for either Davis or fellow trade candidate Daniel Murphy. According to Martino, there's some skepticism among executives that New York will find many takers for Murphy.


Alderson On Shortstop, First Base, Rotation, Murphy

Mets GM Sandy Alderson met with reporters in Orlando on the eve of the Winter Meetings. Here are the highlights (all links go to Twitter):

  • Alderson acknowleded the Mets will not add another free agent of Stephen Drew's caliber and price tag unless a contract is moved, tweets Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com. Andy Martino of the New York Daily News tweets the Mets are telling clubs any other noteworthy deals will come via trades, not free agency.
  • The Mets are bracing themselves for the possibility Ruben Tejada will be the Opening Day shortstop, tweets the New York Post's Mike Puma.
  • "If we have to go into the season with Tejada as our shortstop, we need to make sure we're happy with that given what else we've done," Puma quoted Alderson as saying.
  • Alderson wouldn't say how far along the Mets are in resolving their first base situation, Rubin tweets. Sources tell Martino the Mets' strong preference remains trading Ike Davis and keeping Lucas Duda and a deal could happen this week. In a separate tweet, Martino adds the Mets feel Davis could have more trade value in January, but are eager to settle the matter now. 
  • Alderson isn't totally comfortable with having two prospects in the starting rotation, tweets Rubin.
  • Alderson indicated Eric Young, Jr. is more than a reserve leading Rubin to believe Daniel Murphy could still be traded. Martino tweets one team has already been told the Mets are willing to move Murphy this week.

Mets Notes: Free Agency, Shortstops, Braun

There's been a lot of talk about the Mets following the "Red Sox model" of signing multiple mid-tier free agents to shorter-term deals without sacrificing draft picks this season, but Matt Meyers of ESPNNewYork.com writes that this model won't work for the Mets. New York doesn't have a positional core like Boston had in Dustin Pedroia, Jacoby Ellsbury and David Ortiz, nor can the team match Boston's $150MM payroll. Meyers feels that the Mets should follow the Indians' model this winter and look at the Pirates' philosophy long-term. To fans clamoring for big free agent spending, Meyers points out that such actions are precisely what dug the team into its current hole. More Mets links for your Tuesday afternoon…

  • David Wright appeared on ESPN New York radio recently, stating that he's not worried about the team's slow start to the offseason and adding that he thinks GM Sandy Alderson "has some tricks up his sleeve." (ESPN's Adam Rubin has some quotes transcribed) Wright elaborated: "In all reality, I think that the offseason doesn't really necessarily kick off until the winter meetings, and that starts right after Thanksgiving … have some faith because, like I said, I fully expect us to be a much better team moving forward. Hopefully that will begin at the winter meetings or shortly after Thanksgiving."
  • Barring a surprise signing of Stephen Drew, it's looking more and more like the Mets will open 2014 with Ruben Tejada as their shortstop, writes MLB.com's Anthony DiComo in his latest Mets Inbox. DiComo points to Cardinals GM John Mozeliak's comments about how steep the prices are for shortstops on the trade market in suggesting that such a move isn't likely to occur. Rafael Furcal may be an upgrade, but as DiComo points out, he's far from a sure thing.
  • The large number of holes the Mets have to fill puts Daniel Murphy "at risk of being elsewhere" next season, DiComo adds. The Mets could move Eric Young to his natural position, second base, and address a different hole by trading Murphy.
  • Also from DiComo, the Mets would like to find a veteran backup catcher, but that's low on their list of priorities at this point. He tells a reader that while John Buck would likely be a nice it, Buck probably prefers to find a larger role with a team than the Mets can offer.
  • The Mets did indeed check in on Ryan Braun, writes Jon Heyman of CBS Sports, though the inquiry consisted of four words, Alderson told Heyman: "What's up with Braun?" Alderson asked Brewers GM Doug Melvin before finding him to be unavailable. The Mets are continuing to pursue corner outfielders Nelson Cruz and Curtis Granderson, however, Heyman writes.