Mets Hot Corner

Why Trading Murphy Makes Sense

Just because Daniel Murphy is slumping really bad, doesn’t mean I’m jumping off the #ImWith28 bandwagon.

The Mets are very much in the thick of things as of the end of June. With a few weeks before the All-Star break, they’re just 3.5 games behind the Nationals for 1st place in the NL East. Because of this, the organization needs to make a decision regarding improving the ball club via the trade market before the trading deadline, if they feel the team is going to make a serious run at the post season in the 2nd half of the season.

Reports indicate that the team will wait until the All-Star break to potentially look into making any moves to improve the team and especially the bullpen, which right now is a deadly weakness. The Mets bullpen is the worst in the National League (5.30 ERA before Sunday night’s game) – if  not addressed, the bullpen can cost this team the shocking run we all believe in and are looking forward to.

Where does Murphy come into all of this? He’s trade bait.

Obviously, at the moment, his value is as low as it’s been  since his injuries, but he won’t be in a slump forever. When on, he is amongst the best hitters in the league. Let’s not forget that last season he was right alongside Jose Reyes vying for the batting title before his season ended early due to injury. Through 109 games he was hitting .320 and had 125 hits.

Being that I’m neither a scout nor a baseball official, I’m not going to act like I know what teams would be willing to part with for a package of Murphy, or Murphy straight-up. What I do know, is that I would not be against parting ways with him if it’s going to bring a bullpen arm to the team. Murphy is a man without a position. Although his defense as 2nd base has been serviceable, the Mets have plenty of middle in-field depth, that can replace Murphy in both a starting role and a back-up role, that bring a much better glove and position flexibility.

Let’s say they trade Murph for bullpen help. With Tejada as the everyday shortstop, Jordany Valdespin slides into the everyday 2nd baseman role beside him. Valdespin is much more athletic than Murphy and brings smoother defense to the 2nd base position that in emergencies, can fill in at SS; that being said, not nearly as well, but the point is he can.

Who becomes the potential back-ups?

  • Omar Quintanilla: 109 games at 2nd, 114 games at SS
  • Ronny Cedeño: 86 games at 2nd, 566 games at SS
  • Justin Turner: 92 games at 2nd, 10 games at SS – also has played 47 games at 3rd and can fill-in at 1st.
  • Wilfredo Tovar: Currently in Double-A – Very good bat and an excellent glove at SS. Good enough defender to also back-up at 2nd base.
  • Not to mention the rest of the middle-infield prospects the Mets have in the lower minors who will be ready in a few years to challenge both Tejada and Valdespin for their jobs if their development goes as planned.

I love Daniel’s bat, his work-ethic, his energy and excitement in the dugout. He’s a gamer and a fan favorite. Unfortunately, the Mets need bullpen help, and right now, they’re not in a position to trade top-prospects nor their superstars. If Murphy breaks out of his slump and starts hitting again, he’s one guy who has the bat to bring back something decent and once gone, won’t leave a glaring hole on the team.

Just don’t stay put, Sandy. Please. Fix the bullpen. Give this team a chance to shock the world.

Let’s Go Mets!

27 Comments

  1. jefft93

    June 29, 2012 at 4:04 pm

    Susana Crespo keep up the good work. One of the best NY Met articals I have ever read, agree 100%, and you are the voice of met fans

  2. James Fogarty

    June 29, 2012 at 4:08 pm

    Oh come on, Valdespin everyday?! The guy is the definition of all or nothing. He has zero pitch recognition and plate discipline. While I agree that Murphy is trade bait they shouldn’t just assume Valdespin will slot in so perfectly, he could very easily hit .230/.290/.400 which is really not an upgrade at all. I’d be happier to trade Murphy and maybe have Valdespin in a platoon role. Frankly one relief pitcher wont make the Mets contenders, I mean maybe they do Murphy for Grant Balfour but will that really put them over the top?

    • Susana Crespo

      June 29, 2012 at 5:11 pm

      Does Murphy put the Mets over the top? Not really. If Murphy could bring this team a good bullpen piece that will help in the future, I would not mind giving Valdespin the job for the rest of the season. Flores will be knocking on the door a lot sooner than you think, and Tovar isn’t that far away either (although not this season for neither). Reese Havens only has to prove he’s healthy and keep showing signs of life and he can slot in at 2nd in the bigs in the meantime as well. If Havens isn’t ready, Valdespin can fill in and provide better defense than Murph.

      I’m willing to live with a short time of Valdespins offense until the Mets figure out their 2nd base situation. 
      The point is they have options at 2nd and Murphy is good trade bait to help upgrade a crucial part of any team that intends to contend.

      Think of how many games this team lost because they couldn’t bring out a solid shut-down reliever at the end of the games? More games than Murphy has/could win for this team.

      • Jeff Finkle

        June 29, 2012 at 8:54 pm

        Susana, I have been a Mets fan since 1984 but you don’t have to follow baseball that long to know when a team has disjointed parts that don’t fit the whole in the long run. When this team challenges for a title, I would be shocked if Dan Murphy and Dua are on the team. One of the biggest weaknesses on this young team going forward is a right handed RBI/power bat.  and an exciting infielder with speed. Now if they stay the organizational route, they could get that from Wilmer Flores, at second if he sticks at that positoon.  I think in the outfield it;’s safe to say that Travis Traiejorn has leapfrogged over Corey Vaughn. This guy might be in St. Lucie, but he’s a college player who is going to end up in Double A soon and oh yeah, he can actually run in the outfield, unlike Duda. Duda has to hit 30 homers to be effective, but we could live with Duda in left long term with Kirk and Den Dekker in center if we have anyone besides Murphy at second. He’s a very likeable guy but he should have Magadan on the back of his jersey. you know what i like? i like watcjhing Valdespin at the plate. He needs to limit strikeouts but he’s the only one who brings Reyesesque excitememnt when he connects well.  He could be platooned with Tovar or Tejada if tovar pushes him over to second one day.  If this team were to somehow make the playoffs this year, I don’t trust Murphy or Duda in the field at a key moment. Oh, and Josh Thole basically does the exact same thing as Murphy at the plate. You can’t have two guys who are that one dimensional in the lineup long term. Look out for Travis T, Wilmer F and even Spin, because they all might provide more excitement than Murph, who by the way has less RBI’s than a guy who hit under 200 the while first half of the season

        • Susana Crespo

          June 29, 2012 at 9:05 pm

          LOVE this! 

          • James Fogarty

            July 12, 2012 at 2:30 pm

            Valdespin is an all or nothing hacker and any scout will tell you that unless he learns to lay off pitches he will be a guy with limited skills and can clearly be pitched to by anyone. He’s had some nice moments sure, but when you look at his scouting reports and his skill set its clear that he has a very poor eye at the plate which hurts him greatly. Murphy is not great, but to say that he is Josh Thole is hilarious. In Josh’s best seasons he hasn’t remotely approached Murphy’s production. Murphy can hit for extra bases more consistently and has always maintained higher BA and SLG. Tovar is not close to prime time, he is no closer than Alderlin Rodriguez or Corey Vaughn. Flores is 2014 if they are smart with him and Reese Havens has yet to put together a single healthy season to to talk about him as a replacement for an established .300 hitter is highly optimistic. Duda has been a disappointment but it isn’t time to blow it up and scrap him yet. The team needs a righty bat and it will come from a source outside the organization. If they had a capable right handed hitter in the system why wouldn’t they have called him up already? Am I against trading Murphy and a B prospect to get a Huston Street or a Carlos Quentin? Yes! Your talking about trading Murphy who is not only young, and cheap but under team control for several more seasons! And what do you get? A reliever who has 1 year on his contract and frankly relief pitching is such a crap shoot that you never know what your going to get form them. And Quentin is injury prone, 1 year contracted and is a worse defender than Duda, or at least as awful. They would be better served to trade a guy like Turner to the Rox for R. Hernandez and instead of trying to get a rental like Quentin maybe go after a guy like J. Upton who is available for a good haul. The Mets could make that happen and at least you’d be getting equal value. They need Balfour, or Street but you can’t tell me the price is right when your giving up 3+ years of Murphy for 3 months of one of them. 

  3. James Fogarty

    June 29, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    Also Wilfredo Tovar is nowhere near MLB ready, he and Wilmer Flores are realistically 2 years away. 

  4. catchem

    June 29, 2012 at 4:51 pm

    I hear you but Murphy desrves credit for a beautiful stop on that DP last night.

    • Susana Crespo

      June 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm

      He does make some defensive gems every now and then doesn’t he? haha. I love Murph, and I believe he can be a serviceable 2nd baseman, but the Mets need help in the bullpen and he can maybe help bring that over to the team.

  5. Shynamx22

    June 29, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Wilfredo Tovar is nowhere near a good hitter.

    • Susana Crespo

      June 29, 2012 at 5:34 pm

      He was hitting .284 with 62 hits in 65 games and had 17 doubles, 29 walks, 12 SB, .377 obp, and was an FSL mid-season allstar before being promoted to double-a.

      For a short stop who isn’t regarded as a highly touted prospect because he’s considered ‘all glove no bat’, that’s pretty good.
      Not to mention he’s the best defensive short stop in the minors and I didn’t mention him at a future starter, but instead as a future back-up. That’s a good bat for a future back-up.

  6. Sean B

    June 29, 2012 at 6:11 pm

    Great article, but I disagree – Murphy is exactly the kind of guy the Mets never show patience with and trade before he hits his stride. I’ve had enough of the Mets throwing away the Kevin Mitchells and Jeff Kents for nothing. The Mets were expected to finish dead last, and while this run is great – a bullpen arm changes nothing. They are a few pieces away from contending and keeping a hard nosed, solid hitter like Murphy is essential. If you look at the 2004 Red Sox – You wouldn’t automatically think of Bill Mueller or Kevin Millar as the standouts on that team, but they were integral to the team’s success due to their work ethic and spirit as much as their ability. When you have this many young guys – they can turn into arrogant, me-first guys (like Valdespin is showing signs of) and you need strong veterans like a Murphy there to reign them in by setting the right example. His defense isn’t great, but he’s a work in progress. I’d trade a few wins for a guy the fans can get behind and enjoy rooting for. Not like the businessmen over in the Bronx who are about as much fun to root for as it is rooting for Donald trump to win the lottery. I feel like a deal for a bullpen arm (typically the least predictable players in the game) is a waste and will have echoes of Victor Zambrano.

  7. SteveBrooklyn777

    June 29, 2012 at 6:12 pm

    They don’t need to trade Murph. We can trade a second-tier prospect and pick up most of the salary of a good reliever. Kind of like the Brewers did when they acquired K-Rod. 

  8. NeverSeenThemWinOne

    June 29, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    Hey Susana – Nice work!  I totally agree, deal Murph for some bullpen help.  Great guy, but he’s not getting it done with the bat or the glove on a consistent enough basis.

    I must say, though, that I’m a little leery about putting Valdespin in at second.  I think his bat needs some more seasoning in the minors.  I saw in interesting stat on him (you might have seen it as well) which showed that as long as he was in a hitter’s count (1-0, 2-1, 3-1), he was an excellent hitter, hitting above .300 (I don’t remember exactly, but something like that).  However, whenever he got behind in the count, he was hitting something like .091 or .160 or something bad like that.  To me, that says “stay in AAA, learn to walk more and hit with two strikes.”

    On the flip side, I don’t see anyone with higher upside in your list of backups.  So, it’s a toss up.  Keep up the good writing!

    • Susana Crespo

      June 29, 2012 at 7:28 pm

      Really nice comment, NeverSeen.

      I hadn’t seen that stat, but I have noticed that when Valdy shows patience at the plate, he gets into good hitters counts and as a result comes through with a base hit. So those stats don’t surprise me at all.

      I also feel like he needs more experience to integrate that patience into his hitting style, but if the Mets involved Murphy in a trade, I wouldn’t be upset seeing him given a chance as the every day starting 2nd baseman. We’d certainly learn a lot more about his skills and what he could or could not become.

  9. Kevin

    June 29, 2012 at 6:38 pm

    I respectfully disagree. If the Mets do go on a “shocking” run and secure a playoff birth I think a big part of it will be because Murphy heats up. Without him I think it’s much less likely that run happens. Also, you can make the same “he won’t be this bad forever” argument for almost all of the slumping Mets relievers. The bullpen was pretty lights out at the beginning of the season. The biggest weakness is only one lefty which can be addresses without trading Murphy. Just my opinion.

    • Susana Crespo

      June 29, 2012 at 7:24 pm

      The thing is, how many of our current relievers have a history of being good? Ramon Ramirez is the only one I can think of off the top of my head. Every one else has been pretty inconsistent and not really that good.

      Murphy has been a good hitter since he’s been in the majors, so it’s safer to say he will work his way out of his slump and be good again than it is to say that about the guys in the pen.

      • Kevin

        June 30, 2012 at 12:35 am

        I would add Rauch and even Francisco to that list. I’m sure I’ll get beat up over Francisco but historically he’s definitely pitched better than he has for the Mets thus far.

        You may be right about Murphy which is why I added the “respectfully” disclaimer to my dissent.  You’re rationale is not crazy by any stretch.  It’s just not what I would do if I were the Mets GM.  I think the value a hot Murphy adds to the line-up everyday is going to take the team further than a guy who pitches an inning every other day.  Just my opinion.

        • Kevin

          June 30, 2012 at 12:51 am

          Also, Parnell has been pretty good this year.  He’s been snake-bitten a few times by crappy defense.  The particular time that comes to mind is when “smoother defense” Valdespin had two errors in one inning against DC.  Byrdak has been pretty good too.  I don’t watch every game but I can only remember one bad outing that I saw from him…he just happened to give up a grand slam.

  10. MStewart9

    June 29, 2012 at 6:43 pm

    Trading Murphy for bullpen help is a very non productive move. The Mets are not a top of the line team that is a player away from winning the NL east and becoming serious contenders to make it to the World Series. If you believe they are, then you are fooling yourself. The Mets could find a suitable bullpen arm without moving Murphy at this time.

  11. MStewart9

    June 29, 2012 at 6:48 pm

    Susana,
    One more point, I am not a big Murphy fan; but I do believe trading him for a bullpen pitcher is a waste. Now with that being said; I believe the Mets hope that Murphy’s stock rises so they can trade him eventually with the hopes that Reese Havens can fill his shoes at 2nd base.

    • Susana Crespo

      June 29, 2012 at 7:21 pm

      I can why you feel this way and you do make a good point. I’m not crying for Sandy to trade Murph, I just want him to make moves to help the bullpen, and if Murphy is needed to make that happen, then I’m fine with that and it makes sense to me that it maybe would be needed to package him in a deal.

  12. Thomas Hughes

    June 30, 2012 at 5:24 am

    Valdespin looks at least as bad defensively, has proven nothing offensively, AND has a bad attitude.  He’s not the answer.

  13. Thomas Simmons

    July 21, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    You must be out of your mind. He is one of the FEW players worth keeping!

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