The New York Mets are in an interesting position as the month of July approaches. At first glance at their record you would think that they are out of contention and would be sellers at the trade deadline. However, the truth is that despite a less than desirable record the Mets have been sitting only 5 or 6 games out of first place in the National League East for the last few weeks. As a result of this it is tough to determine what Sandy Alderson is going to try to do in the next 4 weeks.
One popular rumor is that the Mets will look to trade Daniel Murphy. Murphy has one more year of arbitration before becoming a free agent after the 2015 season. With the Mets committed long term to David Wright and Curtis Granderson, some have speculated that they will not want to give Murphy the long term deal that he likely deserves.
Two teams that have been mentioned are the Blue Jays and the Giants, though recent reports say that the Jays are looking for a better defensive second baseman. The Giants as of now remain in the conversation.
A reason that Murphy has become the hot name is because the Mets do not have much in terms of “rental” trades that have worked for them in the past. By this, I mean a player who will be a free agent at the end of this season who is traded for prospects to a team that is trying to claim a playoff spot. Examples of this in recent history for the Mets are trading John Buck and Marlon Byrd to Pittsburgh for Vic Black and Dilson Herrera as well as trading Carlos Beltran to the Giants for Zack Wheeler.
The rental options that the Mets possess this season are Chris Young, Daisuke Matsuzaka and Bobby Abreu. It’s unlikely that the Mets will be able to fetch much value for any of those three. Because of this the Mets may look to trade players who can leave in 2015, such as Murphy.
The big downside with this move would be that Murphy has been, by far, the Mets’ best and most consistent hitter. He’s had a batting average right around .300 for three straight seasons now and seems to just get better every year. He’s never going to be a Gold Glove defender but he certainly is solid in the field and more than makes up for it at the plate.
Related article: Why Daniel Murphy has been the Mets’ best player
If Murphy is not sent packing by the July 31 deadline, the Mets may also look to trade him in the offseason.
The negative to trading Murphy is that he has shown that he can hit in Citi Field and that he is certainly the best hitter on the roster this season. His production will not be able to be replicated by anybody else in the system currently that would play the position.
If I’m Sandy Alderson I don’t see how you can trade your best hitter. The Mets want to be competitors in the near future and trading Murphy for prospects simply delays that. This is not a team that is still rebuilding and as a result the Mets should look to keep Murphy unless they get a nearly ready top prospect or two. Additionally, the demotion of Wilmer Flores has left the Mets with only two middle infielders, Ruben Tejada and Murphy, while they have six outfielders.
That said, I’m not Sandy Alderson and if he decides that he gets an offer he likes for Murphy, expect him to pull the trigger. There are very few players on the Mets roster who are untouchable and Murphy is not one of them, especially considering that his value is just going up every season he plays.
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