The one that was most galling to me of all was not the refusal to gamble on the big ticket free agents or the marquee players like Matt Kemp who will have a new address this season. No, the Mets have worn me down and made me understand (if not quite accept) the “we’ll spend when we win” message. The one transaction that got my blood boiling was an under-the-radar type move by the World Champion San Francisco Giants who needed to replace Kung Fu Panda at 3rd Base when he jumped ship to sumo-wrestle David Ortiz at the Boston buffet table. They had a glaring hole left by Pablo Sandoval’s departure and decided to fill it with 32 year old journeyman Casey McGehee who resuscitated his career last year with the Florida Marlins.
Now if the Giants had filled the hole with a quality hitter like Aramis Ramirez or Martin Prado or someone of that ilk, I’d have nothing to say. Hell, even if they called the Yankees and worked out a deal for A-Rod to take over at 3rd for them, I’d still at least understand the logic. However, they went after a guy who was savoring sushi as a member of the Rakuten Golden Eagles after flaming out with the Brewers, Pirates and Yankees.
Now did he return from Japan with a Cecil Fielder-like flourish? Well, not exactly. He hit a respectable .287, though the second half of the season he was pretty much invisible. His run production was not exactly Ruthian – just 4 HRs and 76 RBIs while leading the league in one thing – grounding into double plays. Bear in mind he batted cleanup for a team that included other formidable bats like Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna.
Now the Mets happened to have a guy who came up as a 3rd baseman whose career major league average season would include 10 HRs, 69 RBIs, 12 SBs and a .290 average while hitting in the 2nd spot in the batting order. Did Sandy Alderson contact the San Francisco Giants to say, “Hey, I’ve got this All Star named Daniel Murphy who might help fill the void for you there at 3rd Base!”?
Mets fans are left to wonder what exactly Alderson and his army of high priced assistants actually do except wait for the phone to ring. Since there’s no clear evidence of them searching for deals to clear payroll and get ANYTHING back for someone likely to walk as a free agent at year’s end anyway, let’s once again take a look at possible new homes for Murphy. After all, as Branch Rickey taught us, it’s better to deal someone a year too soon than a year too late. While a commission is probably out of the question, maybe Sandy can at least send us all here at Mack’s Mets a cap or a t-shirt or giant foam finger for putting the ideas out there for him to ponder. As far as what to take in return, I'll leave that to the minor league prospect gurus on the Mets payroll to figure out (with the exception of the Rockies proposal below):
After dealing away longtime stalwart Howie Kendrick, the Angels appear to be going into 2015 with Josh Rutledge manning 2nd base. If you look at his major and minor league numbers, Murphy is a superior player. Pick up the phone.
Slugger Matt Dominguez at 3B may turn out to be a late bloomer but his numbers in the majors thus far are pretty ugly. He whiffed at a rather prodigious rate throughout his minor league career, so that trend likely isn’t going to improve in the majors. Last year he batted just .215. Make a call.
Old buddy Billy Beane is set to hand the 2nd base job to Eric Sogard, a lefty “hitter” with Tejada-like attributes of no power, no speed and a .223 average. Drop a quarter in the pay phone (assuming you can find one outside of the Smithsonian).
Ryan Goins is listed as number one on the depth chart at 2nd base – he of the .213 batting average last season. If your cell phone plan includes Canada, spend a Loonie to reach out and touch someone in the Toronto front office.
The Washington club is turning once again to former infield standout Danny Espinosa to play 2B for them. While his glove is as good as ever, he’s a right handed hitter whose skills seem to have vanished as he posted a mere .219 average last year and is only a .238 career hitter (albeit with some power). Maybe call your Senator to intervene on your behalf and extoll the virtues of a New York resource who can help improve things in DC.
The boys in Baltimore really think Jonathan Schoop and his .209 average are the answer to their 2nd base situation? Really? Also, their surprisingly productive year from Steve Pearce, right handed hitter at 1st base, may not repeat and they might need a guy who could platoon or backup there, too. While you’re at it, mention that with the departures of Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis they might want to look at a certain left handed outfielder who could be their $15.7 million per year solution for the next three years in Camden Yards. Hey, you never know if you don’t ask.
One thing’s for sure, GM A.J. Preller is not averse to making changes. He’s got an outfield now that’s as good as anyone’s in baseball with Justin Upton, Wil Myers and Matt Kemp. Unfortunately his infield is something of a laughingstock by comparison. Neither Jedd Gyorko nor Will Middlebrooks produced as much as Murphy did last year. Ring his chimes.
While they appear ready to blow it all up and start over, the fact remains there’s still a 162 game schedule to play. The likelihood Chase Utley will be available for the majority of it ranks right up there with betting Troy Tulowitzki, Matt Kemp, Carlos Gonzalez or Michael Cuddyer will, too. Furthermore, Cody Asche is not exactly Evan Longoria out there. They could use Murphy at 3rd and shift him to 2nd when Utley hits the DL. He could also cover 1st when Ryan Howard does his DL stint, too. For a call to the city of brotherly love, can you spare a dime?
Since you’re allegedly talking already about their pair of oft-injured sluggers, how about pointing out that DJ LaMahieu is not exactly the second coming of Joe Morgan out there at 2B? Allegedly the Mets turned down a Murphy for Luke Gregerson trade when it was offered in the past. Maybe now it’s time to inquire about Rex Brothers to get that 2nd lefty for the pen and to get out from under Murphy’s arbitration-inflated salary. If your flip phone supports texting, send a link to Murphy’s All-Star Game photo.
The Bronx Bombers are the team where rookies seem to get even less opportunity than they do under Terry Collins. Right now they have Jose Pirela scheduled to be the new Robinson Cano. His minor league line reads a lot like Murphy’s major league line. They might feel better with a proven commodity. This one is perhaps the best option of all. After all, it’s just a local call.