Mets intend to make Daniel Murphy a $15.8m qualifying offer
As far back as two summers ago and as recently as the last week, the Mets have not altered their stance on extending Daniel Murphy a long-term deal beyond the final year of team control in 2015.
The issue has always been about value in regards to Murphy. He is a below average defender but capable of playing multiple positions on an everyday basis. It’s mostly why the industry has and still views Murphy as a super-utility player on a good team.
And he has filled that role admirably with these very good Mets, who he has led to the cusp of their first National League pennant in 15 years.
Murphy has always been viewed to command market in the range of $10 million a year over a three or four year period. For the Mets, paying that price for Murphy – who is earning $8.5 million in his final year of arbitration eligibility in 2015 – was always believed to be an overpay thanks to his below average defense and often perplexing play.
As such, the future of the position has been lying in the hands of Dilson Herrera, and possibly Wilmer Flores or Matt Reynolds.
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.
And 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.
But could that stance be changing? Perhaps, at least partially.
With Murphy’s value escalating with his beyond stellar performance in the postseason, it may be a worthy gamble to at least extend the long-time Met a qualifying offer, which will reportedly be $15.8 million this winter.
No matter what the Mets ultimately decide, there will be a market for Murphy’s services this winter, especially after this playoff run which 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.
If that’s the case, Murphy would be foolish to consider taking the qualifying offer, instead going for the security of a long-term contract, be it with the Mets or elsewhere.
This becomes important because of another off-season problem the Mets could have, as well.
The Mets cannot extend Yoenis Cespedes a qualifying offer since he was acquired mid-year. If the Mets fail to retain him, they will have nothing to show for in that trade except a renewed need to find a production replacement. That could come with a player tied to a qualifying offer from another team, meaning the Mets could conceivably be forfeiting a first round selection in two consecutive drafts (remember, they relinquished their first round pick to sign Michael Cuddyer last November).
The Mets can ill-afford to let that happen, which makes retaining Cespedes a priority. But they cannot guarantee that, so extending a qualifying offer to Murphy at least gives them a higher-than second-round pick in the 2016 draft, fairly close to their current draft position in the first round.
And so, Joel Sherman of the New York Post says the Mets will indeed extend Murphy a qualifying offer this winter, although they remain “lukewarm” about the possibility of a long-term contract.
Of course, losing both Murphy and Cespedes would not be ideal for a franchise coming off what appears to be a World Series berth this fall. But strategizing and at least aligning their chips would be the prudent approach, and in the case of a qualifying offer for Murphy, a worthy gamble to take whether they want him to take it or not.