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Murphy Misconceptions

After we found out Daniel Murphy rejected the qualifying offer, there were many people saying good bye to Murphy. Others celebrated his departure. These were all premeditated even if Murphy’s return is unlikely:

Yes, it’s likely Murphy leaves, but it’s not definitive.  Murphy could still sign with the Mets. This is one of many misconceptions out there:

Mets Are Better Without Murphy

I really don’t understand this one. I’m well aware of his faults. He’s not a good baserunner. He’s not good defensively at second. He doesn’t walk a lot, and he doesn’t have a lot of power. 

Well he is a second baseman, and he is one of the top hitters at that position. He hit .281/.322/.449 last year. Amongst second basemen:

  • Batting average ranked ninth in the majors and fourth in the NL. 
  • OBP ranked twelfth in the majors and fifth in the NL. He was
  • Slugging ranked fourth in the majors and first in the NL. 

He had the lowest strikeout rate in the majors. He’s making more and better contact. He’s clutchVery clutch!  Losing Murphy would be a big blow to the 2016 Mets, and that’s before you take into account if Dilson Herrera is ready or if David Wright can play everyday over 162 games. 

The Money Can Be Better Allocated

This one is just wrong. With Murphy presumably gone, the Mets at least have issues to address in the middle infield. Some believe the Mets need another CF. Others want to get some more relievers. There’s also a group that wants to get an insurance option for Wright at third. 

That’s a lot to add, especially for a team that only has about $18 million in their budget to resolve all of these problems. If you re-sign Murphy, you have at least address second base and the Wright insurance plan. With Murphy pegged to receive around $12 million annually, there is sufficient funds to add another reliever and/or a backup CF. 

The only other free agent who can check these boxes is Ben Zobrist, who is a mistake signing waiting to happen. He’s 35 and in the midst of a three year decline. Last year, he was actually WORSE than Murphy defensively. I can’t believe the Mets will walk down this path again after signing a 35 year old Michael Cuddyer last year. 

The Mets Have Better Internal Options

This is just ponderous. If you go the Wilmer Flores route, you’ve eliminated the Mets best possible shortstop option. Also, if you’re beating up Murphy for low OBP and the like, here’s Flores’ stats from last year: .263/.295/.408. He’s right handed and not even in the same league as Murphy as a hitter. 

The other option is Dilson Herrera, who I think has a promising future. However, he’s still only 21. In limited major league duty over the past two years, he’s hit .215/.308/.383. Are we really confident he’s going to be handle the job next year?  He will eventually, but this is a team that was just in the World Series.  You should go with players who you know you can trust, not ones you hope can. 

He’s a Net Negative

This is actually an oldie, but it is a good place for summation. Overall, for all of Murphy’s faults, he’s been a good guy that has performed well in New York. He was bounced all over the place, and he never complained. That’s important to have on any team, especially when it comes from a veteran. 

More importantly, we should look at how he responded to the comment. He went on a homerun tear in the playoffs like we’ve never seen. Most people wilt under the bright lights of New York. He rose to the occasion. 

Can you win a World Series with Murphy being the best player on your team?  Probably not. However, as he showed this postseason, you’re probably not getting to the World Series without at least one Murphy in your team. Whoever signs Murphy is going to get a very good baseball player. A player who is versatile, hits well, and does not complain.

Until such a time as Murphy signs with another team, I’m not writing an obituary on his Mets career. I’m not saying good-bye yet. Instead, I’m holding out hope the Mets can push the misconceptions aside and re-sign Murphy. 

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