Mets not budging, plan to let Daniel Murphy go as a free agent after 2015
He’s produced a 1.308 OPS in seven postseason games, home runs in four consecutive games, all of which have come against Clayton Kershaw, Zack Greinke, Jon Lester, and Jake Arrieta, three of the four National League Cy Young Award contenders.
All of his home runs have meant the difference for the Mets. All of his home runs have helped carry them right through the Division Series and to Chicago with a 2-0 lead in the National League Championship Series.
He has been the club’s MVP in the playoffs. He’s 10-for-28 with a double, five home runs, eight RBI.
“This is a good group. I think we’re having a whole bunch of fun right now, ” Murphy said Sunday night.
If they get to the World Series, he will be the reason why that happens. All of the pitching in the world might not matter if Murphy was having even a Murphy-like run through the postseason.
He’s been their miracle and inspiration for seven postseason games. There’s been nobody like him for any other team right now. One might think this epic performance on baseball’s biggest stage might sway the Mets to consider retaining Murphy beyond 2015, the last year they control him.
After all, there’s the science of baseball which is measured statistically, and then there are the intangibles Murphy clearly brings to a playoff-caliber team, neither of which can be ignored. And, his stock is only rising with each act of heroism on a nightly basis.
But the Mets stance remains unchanged, according to a report from Kristie Ackert in the Daily News, as the club continues to maintain their position of letting Murphy go at the end of the season.
“He’s been great, really great,” a club source told Ackert, “but it changes nothing.”
What’s more, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports says the Mets are not expected to extend Murphy a qualifying offer of $15.8 million this winter, meaning if he signs elsewhere, the Mets will not be able to receive compensation for him in the 2016 first-year player draft.
Making a qualifying offer to Murphy can be risky. He seems likely to command a deal in the $10 million a year range over three or four years, and knowing what his market value might be could result in him taking that offer, which could be perceived as an overpayment for what the industry views as a utility player.
Instead, as has always been the case, the Mets appear inclined to turn to the likes of Wilmer Flores, Matt Reynolds and Dilson Herrera to fill the void Murphy leaves behind.
In regards to Herrera specifically, people within the organization love his talent, and he has been widely viewed as the future of the position since he was acquired two years ago from the Pirates for John Buck and Marlon Byrd. In that time, there’s been no talk of Murphy as the future of the position as well.
So the writing has been on the wall for Murphy to simply walk at the end of this year for a while now, his postseason heroics not withstanding.
At the same time, he has clearly shown an intangible value during the course of the 2015 season, and in the postseason in particular.
Yes, his play can often times be aggravating and mysterious, but he’s proving to be someone who can handle the pressure cooker of the postseason and in New York at that, as well as a guy who has a knack for not only clutch hitting, but truly big hits in big moments late in games.
There’s no science available to measure that ability in a player, and it’s hard to find at that.
Besides, the Mets clearly need not only insurance to David Wright at third base, but a legitimate contingency plan at that. There’s no telling what the future holds for Wright and his back condition, and whether he can be an everyday player going forward. Murphy is a known quantity, knows the organization and knows the system – there would be no learning curve for him if he were retained.
On the other hand, assuming he got a deal in the area of four years and $36 million, it’s a lot to invest in such an insurance policy and utility player from a payroll perspective, even if they escalate their budget in 2016.
This is a front office which is so methodical and calculated. They do not base decisions on small sample sizes. And while he’s become beloved among the masses and has been the superhero for the Mets over the last week, there’s no reason to expect the Mets to act on emotion and deviate from their long-term plan.
And Murphy was never in those long-term plans.
But if this is Murphy’s swan song, he is certainly making it a memorable one.