By: Paul DiSclafani
As a Mets fan, you held out hope that Daniel Murphy was going to accept the Mets $15.8M qualifying offer for 2016. After all, he never seemed to be “that” type of player, selfish or money hungry and he always put the team above himself.
Have you ever heard him during an interview? It was never about him, always about his teammates.
But in the end, Murphy (and his agents) did what he felt was right for him and his family. Murphy declined the Mets qualifying offer and is now a free agent. Of course, that doesn’t preclude him from signing a multi-year, free agent contract with the Mets, but it is highly unlikely that the Mets are interested in him long-term. And maybe that’s why Murphy bailed in the end.
The 30 year-old Murphy may command a multi-year deal, maybe three or four years for somewhere in the $50M range. From the business end of it, the Mets made the right move by extending the qualifying offer. If any other team signs Murphy, they will have to forfeit a First Round Draft choice next June.
The Mets will most likely start the season with Dilson Herrera and Wilmer Flores competing for time at Murphy’s vacated second base position.
So what’s next for Murphy? All the talk is that he will end up somewhere in the American League. He may not have been the best ballplayer, but he was as close to “one of us” as any ballplayer could be. Sure, he made mistakes on the field and on the base paths, but his joyful exuberance when he made a great play was just so cool!
Mets fans loved him. Although the Mets could not have made it to the World Series without his incredible NLDS and NLCS performances, he was a bust in the World Series.
I understand why he ultimately decided to test the free agent market, but here are some reason why he should have taken the deal:
THE IRON GOT COLD
Everyone said that Murphy should “Strike while the iron was hot” and cash in on his NLDS / NLCS performances and MLB record-setting 6-straight games with a home run. That made perfect sense until Game 4 of the World Series, when the pixie dust wore off and Murphy made a key error that cost the Mets a chance to tie the series. As fast as Murphy’s stock soared, it came crashing down. Murphy earned the MVP of the NLCS and hit .421 with 7HR in both the NLDS and NLCS. Everyone suddenly remembered exactly what type of player Murphy really was, and that gets magnified when he is not hitting home runs. Murphy hit just 14 home runs during the entire season and his performance in the World Series – with ALL of baseball watching – confirmed what all us Mets fans knew all along. The home runs in the postseason were an aberration.
WE LOVE HIM ANYWAY
Seeing Murphy hit day in and day out gave you a sense that you could kind of live with the goofs on the base paths and the misplays on the field. He was some kind of hitter, man. Top to bottom of the Mets lineup, if you had to pick one guy to be at bat when you needed not only a hit, but someone to put the ball in play, it was Daniel Murphy. The Mets fans put up with his flaws and he would have bought at least another full year of equity with us after his postseason. The Cleveland Indians or Anaheim Angels fans aren’t going to put up with it at all. They want the Mets postseason Murphy to hit 35 home runs for them. Not gonna happen. Nobody is going to love him the way Mets fans loved him.
HE WOULD HAVE PLENTY OF PLACES TO PLAY IN NY
Although he was primarily a second baseman here, we have two other holes that he can fill. Nobody knows what will happen with David Wright and 3B is Murphy’s natural position. And there isn’t a Mets fan on the planet that doesn’t believe first base isn’t his best position. Murphy would have gotten plenty of games at 2B, 3B and even 1B during the course of the year as Terry Collins finds ways to keep that bat in the lineup and keep everyone fresh.
That’s a LOT of cabbage. Murphy passed on the offer not because he thought he was going to make more money somewhere else, he wanted a multi-year deal. He is obviously going to make less money per year over the course of a multi-year deal. But if he accepts the offer, he gets almost $16 million AND becomes a free agent again next year.
THE GRASS IS NEVER REALLY GREENER
New York has been his home since he was drafted in the 13th round in 2006. He has attained Folk-hero status with the fans in Citi Field. He has always seemed to be a down-to-earth guy and here in the Big City, we kind of like that. He was always gracious with the media. Now he is going to another team, another city, another fan base, new teammates and most likely, another league. Is that really worth the money? Popular players that leave their “only known” home are not usually successful and sometimes regret it for every reason except financially. Granted, no one is shoving $50M in my face, so it’s easy to sit on my pulpit and preach, but I really thought that Murphy might be different. I thought he might actually be that guy that looks at the entire situation (not just the money) and decides – “I like it here, they like me. Let’s give it one more chance to win a World Series together”. I guess I’m a hopeless romantic.
WE’RE GOING TO CELEBRATE NEXT YEAR WITHOUT YOU
I hope you realize the mistake you made when the Mets are celebrating on the field next November as World Champions…
To quote, “The Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy”. “So long, and thanks for all the fish”.