Last Friday, Daniel Murphy rejected the Mets one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer, which granted the Mets a compensation pick in the 2016 draft if he chooses to sign with another team.
But the Mets evidently aren’t planning on letting Murphy go without listening to what they have to say about a long-term offer.
According to Adam Rubin of ESPN New York, the Mets expect to make a, “legitimate bid” to retain Murphy.
Rubin says there are people in the organization who believe Murphy might consider the Mets, although it remains to be seen how much of a discount Murphy would be willing to take as he compares whatever the Mets intend to offer to offers from other suitors.
The Mets also must consider Murphy against players such as Ben Zobrist, a player they’re reportedly interested in and would likely serve as a replacement to Murphy.
From a strategic perspective, it could be worth letting Murphy sign with another team and replacing him with someone like Zobrist, who is more versatile – albeit older – and is probably the better all around player to Murphy. That way, the Mets would get the extra draft pick and two before the second round of the draft.
But then there are the sentimental reasons to retain Murphy. He has been very public in his desire to stay with the Mets, and he has done whatever he has been asked to do and embarrassed himself in the process in an effort to help the organization. He’s also a proven success story in New York, and the Mets know he can produce in the postseason as well.
That begs the question why – if the Mets were seriously interested in a long-term engagement with Murphy – they would wait until he’s a free agent to consider a new deal.
Then again, it could also be a way to create leverage in negotiations for Zobrist or other candidates to fill the void left by Murphy.
Of course, if the Mets retain Murphy, they would not receive a compensation pick in the draft. They need to consider that as part of their strategy, plus consider the implications it would have on Dilson Herrera, who would be a man without a position for the foreseeable future.
If the Mets sign Murphy back, presumably they would look to sign a shortstop and build more depth specifically left side of the infield. That doesn’t necessarily exclude Zobrist, as he could play shortstop (and other positions) and second base when Murphy needs a break.
However, Zobrist has played more games at second than he has at any other position and it’s clearly his most comfortable position, so what happens with Murphy and the Mets could certainly have an impact on what happens with Zobrist and the Mets.