Daniel Murphy Rumors
The Mets were far from the favorite for Jose Reyes entering the offseason. But if the Marlins offered Reyes six years and $90MM as a starting bid, Mets fans can forget about him coming back in the opinion of ESPN New York's Adam Rubin. For months now, the impression has been that the Mets don't want to exceed four years for the shortstop. They'll have to hope for a couple of decent draft picks, depending on what happens with the new collective bargaining agreement.
- Two executives tell Joel Sherman of the New York Post that the Mets have been assured of Type A draft pick compensation for Reyes this offseason, even if the new CBA eliminates it going forward. GM Sandy Alderson presumes as much, tweets Rubin. Sherman says the expectation is that Type B compensation will be eliminated, and maybe a few non-star Type As will have that status removed. This is the first I've heard of eliminating Type B compensation. All links go to Twitter.
- Alderson described his talks with Reyes' agent Peter Greenberg to Ken Davidoff of Newsday: "I wouldn't classify them as substantive. More than phone tag."
- Mets officials refer to Mike Pelfrey and Angel Pagan as "bridge pieces," reports Sherman, in that they feel no long-term allegiance to either player. Pelfrey and Pagan are arbitration eligible this winter.
- Mets executives tell Sherman closer is the only position at which the team is willing to exceed a one-year contract, and Sherman feels they may top out at two years with an option. The Mets consider themselves two years away from contention, writes Sherman, so Alderson intends to avoid big multiyear commitments. Sherman guesses the Mets will spend $8-10MM for two relievers with late inning experience, letting them battle for the ninth inning.
- The Mets won't trade Ike Davis, tweets Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports, but maybe Daniel Murphy or Lucas Duda.
SI.com's Jon Heyman tweets that the 2013 All-Star Game will be played at Citi Field, making it very possible the stadium will host an All-Star Game before it hosts its first playoff game. Let's check out the rest of today's Mets- and Yankees-related links....
- The Mets' two-year deal with R.A. Dickey could be a coup, says Andy McCullough of the Star-Ledger.
- Daniel Murphy has played all over the diamond in recent years, and will head into the 2011 season aiming to become the Mets' starting second baseman. Manager Terry Collins says Murphy could also play some first and third base. ESPNNewYork's Adam Rubin has the details.
- Speaking to the media, Jorge Posada discussed his and Derek Jeter's defensive positions for 2011 and beyond. Peter Botte of the New York Daily News passes along quotes from the Yankees' new designated hitter, who says he still expects to see some time behind the plate this year.
- Chad Jennings of the Journal News explores possible fits for the Yankees' bench, naming Lastings Milledge or Felipe Lopez as potential targets.
Links on a very rainy evening in the Bronx..
- Matt Stairs nearly retired this winter but now he tells Corey Brock of MLB.com (via Twitter) that he wants to play for another year or two.
- The Diamondbacks will decide interim manager Kirk Gibson's fate soon, writes MLB.com's Steve Gilbert.
- Toronto could give their entire staff a makeover upon hiring a new manager, writes Shi Davidi of The Canadian Press.
- Stan Kasten told Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post that he's still not sure if he'll return to the Nats next season.
- The Mets may already have their 2011 second baseman in Daniel Murphy, writes Adam Rubin of ESPNNewYork.com.
- The Reds won't be auditioning Yonder Alonso for a potential deal as Joey Votto is set to return to action on Friday, tweets John Fay of the Cincinnati Enquirer.
- Mets GM Omar Minaya told Anthony DiComo of MLB.com (via Twitter) that he's not concerned about speculation over his job security.
- It's a good time for ex-Mariners managers, tweets Larry Stone of the Seattle Times.
No one really disputes the fact that the Mets will be looking to trade Daniel Murphy. It is a team with weaknesses, while the one position where Murphy has excelled so far, first base, now appears to be the province of Ike Davis.
Murphy lost that first base job due to a knee injury, but as he prepares for a return to Triple-A Buffalo, the Mets still don't seem sure about where to play him. Here are the various positional options, along with what kind of trade value Murphy will likely provide should he take to them, from best to worst:
Second base: this is the best the Mets can hope for, and should be the position Daniel Murphy plays with Triple-A Buffalo. If Murphy can become merely adequate at the position, his bat profiles extremely well for long-term success at the position.
As a group, major league second basemen posted an OPS+ of an even 100, while Murphy, in his first 707 plate appearances, has an OPS+ of 103. In other words, Murphy, should he fail to develop any further as a hitter, would already be an above-average hitting second baseman. That would draw quite a bit of trade interest, and with the Mets lacking an obvious internal option to fill the position long-term, could even keep Murphy with the Mets.
Third base: The case here is similar to the one for second base, with some additional pluses. Like second basemen, third basemen hit for just an OPS+ of 101 in 2009, so Murphy is already an average bat at the position. Another advantage is that Murphy was a third basemen through most of his minor league career- 196 of his 230 defensive games in the minors were played at third base- so this would represent the least difficult transition for Murphy, defensively.
The case against is that a move to third base would only be a preliminary move to trading Murphy, with the current position on the Mets obviously taken.
First base: This is one of the three lesser options the Mets can take. On the plus side, Murphy showed he can clearly handle the position of first base defensively last season- despite some gaffes that naturally result from being thrown into a new position midway through a baseball season, Murphy posted impressive defensive numbers there.
The big problem is how his offense translates to first base. As a group, first basemen had an OPS+ of 125 last season. Considering that Murphy's career OPS+ is 103, it is unlikely, but not impossible, for Murphy to improve to the point of being an average offensive first baseman. But with second base and third base options for Murphy as well, this seems like a strange fit.
Left field: This one makes very little sense. Murphy, simply put, was not a left fielder when given the every day job out of spring training in 2009. His numbers were poor, and his instincts seemed particularly ill-suited for the position.
What's worse, his offense doesn't fit in left field, either. Left fielders had an OPS+ of 108 last year, meaning that Murphy's bat profiles a bit below average at the position. And unlike first base, where his defensive prowess can help make up some of the gap, in left field, Murphy would likely have to hit a good bit better than average just to break even.
Utility player: This option has some upside, with Murphy filling in at multiple positions at Triple-A in preparation for a utility role with either the Mets or another team. But it would seem to stunt his development further.
Keep in mind, Murphy has played all the positions mentioned above, but none of them exclusively for any period of time, keeping him from learning to play in one place, while allowing him to focus on developing as a hitter. Asking him to juggle so many positions may well keep him from becoming a hitter that can best help the Mets, let alone drawing interest from other teams.
And more to the point: if the Mets are showcasing him for a trade, what was the last time a team received a ton of trade chips in exchange for a utility player?
The Mets want Daniel Murphy to learn to play multiple positions in part because it would increase his trade value, writes Brian Costa of the Star-Ledger. A person familiar with the team's thinking told Costa that they will send the first baseman to Triple-A when he returns from a right knee sprain. The demotion will give him an opportunity to learn other positions and take more at-bats than he would in the majors.
The 24-year-old Murphy has been unseated at first base by 23-year-old Ike Davis. If Murphy can acclimate himself to left field and second base, he would become a more valuable asset whether he stays or goes elsewhere.
In his 204 games on the varsity squad, Murphy has hit .275/.331/.437. His career UZR/150 at his preferred position is 8.6, while he posted a -9.0 in left field. However, sample size should be taken into account as he played just 59 total games in left.
As the West Coast games get started, here are some tidbits to snack on...
- The Washington Post's Adam Kilgore reports that there is "nothing going on" with contract extension talks involving Adam Dunn. Dunn is off to a slow start, but says it has nothing to do with his possible extension.
- With Jeff Mathis on the disabled list with a fractured wrist, all those teams hoping to take advantage of the Angels' inexplicable disenchantment with Mike Napoli can move on for now.
- MinorLeagueBall.com's John Sickels speculates about what it would take for the Twins to acquire Alex Gordon from the Royals.
- ESPNNewYork.com's Adam Rubin talks with the rehabbing, Daniel Murphy, who says he's willing to learn other positions, even second base, with Ike Davis looking to be up to stay.
WEDNESDAY, 1:54pm: MLB.com's Jordan Bastian writes that a Major League source told him Delgado "doesn't fit into the Blue Jays' plans." But if you're concerned about Delgado's health, his agent told Bastian the slugger "would have no problems playing first base on an everyday basis."
MONDAY, 6:59pm: AOL Fanhouse's Ed Price tweets, the Mets have seen Carlos Delgado in Puerto Rico twice, and plan to see him once more. Price adds that Delgado "is not moving well". Price adds that the Blue Jays, Delgado's first team, might be a "more likely landing spot."
One would figure Price mentions this because Toronto plays in the American League, giving Delgado a chance to DH, but it isn't so clear where Delgado fits in there. Adam Lind is Toronto's best hitter, and fields like a DH. Lyle Overbay is left-handed, just as Delgado is. Just how much of a role Toronto can offer Delgado is not at all clear.
Where Delgado fits with the Mets is much more obvious- he stands as far likelier to excel as a hitter while playing first base than Daniel Murphy in 2010. If he can't move well enough to play the position, of course, he becomes a glorified pinch hitter for New York.
For his part, Delgado has been hitting in his time with Carolina, putting a .353 average up in 19 plate appearances, including a home run. He only began playing the field on Sunday night, however.
Erik Boland and David Lennon over at Newsday have a piece up reporting that the Mets are "very interested" in bringing back Carlos Delgado.
Delgado, who played in the Puerto Rican Winter League Sunday for the first time since surgery on his hip in May, went 1-for-4 as a designated hitter. As befitting a player who managed to play in just 26 games in 2009, the Mets are interested in Delgado on an incentive-laden deal.
Still, it is easy to understand New York's interest. Delgado was hitting .298/.393/.521 in 2009, one year after putting up a 2008 batting line of .271/.353/.518, including a tremendous second half.
Just for fun, let's combine rumors for a Delgado platoon with Mike Lowell, who was rumored to be in discussions to come to New York in exchange for Luis Castillo early this evening in a tweet by ESPN.com's Jerry Crasnick.
Delgado, against righties, had a .912 OPS in 2008, .902 in 2009. Lowell had a .961 OPS against lefties in 2008, an .867 OPS against them in 2009.
In other words, it would be an offensive option that would likely leave Daniel Murphy in the dust.
The piece also reports that the Mets are interested in starting pitching, with Joel Pineiro their preferred choice.
A team insider suggests to Adam Rubin of the New York Daily News that Jason Bay and Matt Holliday may be too expensive for the Mets to consider. Rubin hears that the Mets expect to trade for a left fielder or spend on a second-tier free agent, since the top outfielders on the free agent market may be too pricey.
A source close to Mike Cameron tells Rubin that the one-time Met wouldn't likely consider returning, since he wants to play center field (the Mets, of course, have Carlos Beltran in center). Gary Sheffield will not return to the Mets, according to Rubin.
The club intends to use Daniel Murphy at first base in 2010, but they have not ruled out bringing free agent first baseman Carlos Delgado back. The slugger would have to be willing to accept a low-cost, one-year deal, but Delgado won't likely see multi-year offers this winter.
The Mets are interested in signing Bengie Molina, but they may look elsewhere if he demands more years than they're willing to commit to.
9:01pm: The Chicago Tribune's Paul Sullivan is reporting that Toronto "wants no part of Milton Bradley." Meanwhile, Cubs GM Jim Hendry said that Chicago hasn't given up on Bradley, according to MLB.com's Scott Merkin. Of course, Hendry has to say that until the moment Bradley is traded.
5:55pm: A very interesting idea is being reported by Ken Rosenthal: a three-way deal, with Milton Bradley going to the Blue Jays, Luis Castillo to the Cubs, and Lyle Overbay to the Mets. Rosenthal said "The teams indeed have discussed the framework of such a deal, though not in direct fashion, according to major-league sources."
Breaking it down, the trade makes the most sense for the Mets, who would clear second base for long-coveted Orlando Hudson, a free agent. Overbay has also mashed righties for his entire career - .847 OPS career, .905 in 2009 - and could be paired with Daniel Murphy or Nick Evans for a high-reward platoon.
Castillo does block the movement of Ryan Theriot to second base when Starlin Castro arrives, but adding Castillo's on-base percentage would be a boon to the top of Chicago's lineup.
As for the Blue Jays, the deal would open up first base for Adam Lind, with Bradley slotting in as designated hitter. The question is: Overbay slugged .466 in 2009, while Bradley slugged just .397 - so is this an upgrade?