How the New York Mets will approach this summer’s trade deadline remains unclear, but it’s becoming more evident that the team will be able to move some of their players should they decide to do so. Second baseman Daniel Murphy is just one of those potentially tradable assets and he’s already started to draw some interest, according to Andy Martino at the New York Daily News. Both the San Francisco Giants and Toronto Blue Jays have done “preliminary homework” on Murphy should the Mets make him available.
Martino notes that the two clubs have been asking around for opinions on Murphy, according to a source. The Blue Jays also had a scout in attendance at the team’s weekend series with the Miami Marlins, though it’s unclear if they were there specifically to watch Murphy.
The 29 year old Murphy has quietly been having a solid season for the Mets. Through 74 games he’s batting .298/.353/.417 with an NL-leading 92 base hits. He’s not a significant power threat (13 HR in 2013 was a career best) but he can get on base at a decent clip and doesn’t strike out much. He’d be a certain upgrade at second base for either the Giants or the Blue Jays.
San Francisco has given most of their playing time at second base to Brandon Hicks, who is now hitting just .172/.289/.339 on the season. Hicks has hit 8 HR, but hasn’t otherwise brought enough to the table to continue putting him in the lineup daily. The team recalled Joe Panik from Triple-A over the weekend, hoping that he can step in and help bring some added production from the position. The 23 year old had been hitting .321/.382/.447 in 326 PA in the minor leagues.
As for Toronto, they too have had trouble finding consistent production at second base. Steve Tolleson and Munenori Kawasaki will likely platoon at the position after Brett Lawrie suffered a broken index finger over the weekend. Neither Tolleson (.234/.306/.416) nor Kawasaki (.194/.265/.290) brings much offense to the mix. Toronto has used seven different players at second base on the season so far.
While Murphy could end up being available, he likely won’t come cheaply as the Mets don’t need to move him (though they did shop him rather aggressively during the Winter Meetings). He has another year of arbitration eligibility before reaching free agency and even on the pace he’s trending this year he shouldn’t end up costing much more than $8 Million for 2015. Martino notes that part of the Mets’ decision will likely center around whether the team feels that Murphy could be a part of their future. If there is no desire to explore extending his contract, it could make him easier to move even in the midst of a possible 200 hit season. It’s also unclear who the Mets would turn to in the short term to replace him, as Wilmer Flores likely won’t hit enough to be a regular in the lineup and Eric Young profiles better as an outfielder defensively.