Daniel Murphy Rumors

AL East Notes: Yankees, Sox, Hazen, Jays, Murphy

In his latest piece, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News looks at some of the Yankees’ most tradeable assets and discussed their stock with scouts around the league. Martino notes that many scouts aren’t high on Gary Sanchez due to a lack of fire, questionable defense and the fact that he doesn’t do early work before games. Right-hander Luis Severino, on the other hand, is seeing his stock rise. The Class-A Advanced hurler threw six no-hit innings Wednesday and drew praise from a scout who spoke with Martino. He also notes that catcher Peter O’Brien and second baseman Rob Refsnyder have been knocked for their defense. A scout Martino spoke with shared the opinion of many in stating that O’Brien doesn’t really have a position.

Here’s more out of the AL East…

  • Red Sox COO Sam Kennedy appeared on WEEI’s Dennis & Callahan show yesterday morning, and Conor Ryan of WEEI.com has the highlights from the discussion. Kennedy said it’s too early to determine whether they’re buyers or sellers, but it’s certainly possible that the ultimate plan of action is to trade veteran pieces and promote prospects like Mookie Betts, Christian Vazquez and Garin Cecchini. He added that he feels Boston’s fans are knowledgeable enough to understand, should that approach necessitate itself.
  • Kennedy also discussed the possibility of Red Sox assistant GM Mike Hazen drawing interest for the Padres‘ GM opening. While he joked that they weren’t interested in helping out former BoSox COO and current Padres CEO Mike Dee, he acknowledged how desirable Hazen is to other clubs: “I think [Hazen] will definitely be a candidate atop any club’€™s list who might need a general manager. … Hopefully, Mike Hazen will be with us for a long time, but we are realistic and recognize that when you have talented people, other organizations come knocking.”
  • WEEI.com’s Rob Bradford writes that it’s time for the Red Sox to make changes. The team cannot keep relying on struggling veterans Jake Peavy and A.J. Pierzynski, he opines. Rather than “grasp[ing] at what might possibly pan out” with their veterans, they should be embracing young talent. He notes that while there are more apparent replacements for Peavy than Pierzynski, Vazquez could be given a trial and at least provide strong defense if he doesn’t hit.
  • The Blue Jays continue to monitor the trade market for infielders, reports Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports (Twitter links). While the team would like to add a starting pitcher, they’re open to upgrades at any position. Specifically, the Jays are looking at second basemen and third basemen, knowing that Brett Lawrie can man the position that isn’t addressed via trade once he is healthy.
  • Jon Heyman of CBS Sports adds, also via Twitter, that while the Blue Jays are looking at second base options, they’re not considering Daniel Murphy of the Mets. Toronto is looking for more defense that Murphy offers at the position. It’s been reported that the Mets could extend Murphy rather than trade him. I examined what a Murphy extension might cost the Mets yesterday.

Examining A Potential Daniel Murphy Extension

It’s been reported that the Mets, who have shown a reluctance to move veteran pieces under GM Sandy Alderson, could work out an extension with second baseman Daniel Murphy rather than trade him for prospects at this year’s deadline. The natural reaction to that news, particularly for Mets fans, is to wonder what an extension would cost the team.

Murphy entered the year with four years, 109 days of service time and a $5.7MM salary in his back pocket after avoiding arbitration with the team for the second time this past winter. He’s under control through next season and is due one more raise in arbitration before being scheduled to hit the open market for the first time in his career.

Using MLBTR’s Extension Tracker to look at extensions for second basemen with between four and six years of service time, Martin Prado jumps out as a strong comparable for Murphy both in terms of service time and in terms of production. Here’s a look at Murphy’s career to date alongside Prado’s career through the time he signed his four-year, $40MM deal with the D’Backs:

From an offensive standpoint, the two are very similar. Even when adjusting for ball park, Murphy has a 110 OPS+, where Prado’s was at 109 heading into the 2013 season. The big difference between the two, of course, is defense. Murphy, drafted as a third baseman, learned to play second base on the job and was a liability there early in his career. Defensive metrics have come around on his glovework at the keystone, but Defensive Runs Saved still pegs him as below-average, and Ultimate Zone Rating feels he’s average at best.

Prado, meanwhile, was considered a standout defender at third base and in left field at the time of his extension, and he was also capable of sliding over to second base or shortstop if needed. That’s versatility that Murphy simply doesn’t have to offer, and it’s a large reason for the fact that Fangraphs valued Prado’s career at 14.2 WAR when he signed his deal, while Murphy’s career to date is pegged at 11.1 fWAR.

However, Prado’s contract was signed 18 months ago, and his $4.75MM salary in 2012 was lower than Murphy’s current $5.7MM mark. It stands to reason that Murphy would earn more next season in arbitration than Prado would have in his final arb year, and we’ve seen the price of extensions grow over the past few seasons. Additionally, if the Mets feel that Murphy has progressed to the point where he’s at least an adequate defender at second base, they’ll likely be willing to pay for his future defensive value rather than ding him for his past struggles.

Murphy himself mentioned the possibility of a four-year deal multiple times in the report from Andy Martino of the New York Daily News, and if that’s the target window for an extension, something in the neighborhood of $9MM in 2015 and $12-13MM annually for his first three free agent seasons could work for both sides. That’d put his deal in the $45-48MM range over four years, beginning in 2015.

Murphy could also follow the route of Brett Gardner — another above-average player who was never seen as a star prior to his offseason contract extension. Gardner agreed to his final arbitration salary and then signed a four-year deal that began in 2015 and covered only free agent years. Were Murphy to go that route, an additional year at $12-14MM could be added to Murphy’s deal (which would then begin in 2016), meaning he would earn roughly $9MM in 2015 and earn something in the $48-52MM range for his age-31 through age-34 seasons (2016-19).


Extension Possible For Mets, Daniel Murphy

While a great deal of focus has been placed on whether or not the Mets should trade second baseman Daniel Murphy, Andy Martino of the New York Daily News reports that a long-term deal between the two sides isn’t out of the question either.

Martino spoke to a Mets insider who said an extension is a possibility, and Murphy himself noted that agents Seth and Sam Levinson of ACES “know how I tick and have discussed it.” Murphy went on to note that while the money would be an important factor, the bigger appeal of a long-term deal to him would be a team making that level of commitment to him:

“The money is nice … I couldn’t spend that in four lifetimes. I’ll let my son try to do it, but I couldn’t do it. So it’s just — if somebody comes up to you and says, hey we think you’re good enough to be in this league for the next four years — I have never approached it this way. And I don’t think that would change the way I work, it’s just, hey, that’s a nice feeling. And it’s four years worth of at-bats. They’re not just passing those things out in this league.”

Murphy is earning $5.7MM this season after avoiding arbitration with the Mets for a second time this past offseason. He’s off to the best start of his career, as he entered today’s game with a .300/.355/.418 batting line, six homers, 11 steals and improved defense, per Ultimate Zone Rating and Defensive Runs Saved. Murphy would be eligible for free agency following the 2015 season.



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.