Mets not ruling out retaining Daniel Murphy on a long-term deal
On Friday, the Mets made Daniel Murphy a $15.8 million qualifying offer.
If he accepts, the Mets will retain Murphy on a one-year deal for that dollar amount. If he declines, the Mets will receive a compensation pick after the first round of the 2016 draft if he signs with another club.
But assistant GM John Ricco didn’t rule out the possibility Murphy would accept the qualifying offer he received last week.
“You always have to anticipate that he’s going to accept,” Ricco explained about Murphy’s qualifying offer. “Otherwise I don’t think we would have done it.”
If Murphy accepts the offer, he would be the first player to ever accept a qualifying offer.
And while it’s expected Murphy will decline the qualifying offer and ultimately sign with another club, Ricco did not rule out the possibility the Mets could retain Murphy on a long-term deal.
“We’ll see what he does first at the end of the week,” the assistant GM said. “I’ve been around long enough to know a lot of things can happen over the course of the winter. We have to see, as we gather information, how we think the club is going to shape up to see where different pieces might fit.”
If the Mets signed Murphy to a long-term deal – and right now, that just seems far fetched – that would unquestionably put a cap on Dilson Herrera and disable him from reaching the big leagues as a second baseman.
However, Murphy unquestionably has value as a utility infielder. After all, the Rockies are reportedly discussing signing Murphy to be a first baseman. But he can also play third base, a position the Mets must build depth at considering there’s so much uncertainty surrounding David Wright and his ability to be an everyday player.
That could open the door for Herrera at least on a part-time basis, with someone like Juan Uribe and/or Kelly Johnson serving as quality depth as well at second and third base.
But is that best for Herrera and his development? He’s got a much higher ceiling as a 22-year-old second baseman, and he’s probably already better defensively than Murphy. Playing on a part-time basis or going back to the minor leagues might be a waste for him now.
Then again, there’s no replacing Murphy’s intangibles, and his known ability to succeed in New York and now in the playoffs at that.
But if the Mets let Murphy walk, they’d be depending on Herrera at second base,or be compelled to shop for depth and insurance in the event Herrera struggles.
The good news is, no matter what, the Mets envision having a better first-half offense in 2016 than they did in 2015.
“I don’t think we envision having that kind of an offense again,” Ricco said.