Mike Daniello | SportsQuotient- Daniel Murphy is returning to the NL East for 2016, but not with the New York Mets. Murphy reached a deal with one of the Mets’ biggest rivals, the Washington Nationals. Washington scooped Murphy up and gave him $37.5 million over three years, making him the fifth-highest paid second baseman in the game. Is Murphy the piece that gets Washington back into the playoffs? Will he give the Nationals their first ever World Series? It’s tough to say for a career .288 hitter, who banked a check solely from his historic postseason.
(Chris Soto: Oh man....talk about adding another layer to the already intense current day rivalry between the Nationals and the Mets. The Nationals will move 2B Danny Espinosa to SS to replace Ian Desmond and the Murphy will be the club's new 2B. Are the Nationals better with Murphy over Desmond in their line-up? If your talking solely 2015 then absolutely, but outside of his terrible 2015 season Desmond has long been a 20 HR/20 SB guy with a .250-.260 average. That is superb coming from a middle IF spot and is something that Murphy just cannot duplicate. Definitely a downgrade for the Nationals year over year.)
Mark Simon | ESPN New York- We’re about 3 1/2 months from the start of the season, but right now it looks like the Mets will go with a platoon of newly signed Alejandro De Aza and defensive standout Juan Lagares in center field. The reasoning for this is fairly straightforward. De Aza hits right-handed pitching well, doesn’t hit well against left-handed pitching, but Lagares does. The consensus we got from speaking with a pair of major-league scouts is that the Mets are trying to maximize the skills of two players who would rank in the lower half of center fielders if they were the primary starter at the position. ZiPs system projected a .257/.319/.403 slashline with nine home runs and 12 steals for De Aza and it views Lagares as a likely two-win player in 2016, despite a slashline of .261/.297/.369
(Chris Soto: The two player's ZIPs projections are both based on if either one of them were full-time starters which isn't how the Mets plan to deploy the duo. If we use their career splits, break them down into "per game" units and then extrapolate them up to a 162 game season, accounting for last year's frequency of when they faced Lefties or Righties.....here is what we get: .274 AVG, .752 OPS, 12 HR, 58 RBI, 23 SB, 21.6% K rate, 8.2% BB Rate. That OPS would rank the combo as the 14th best CF [Middle of the Road] in the entire MLB in 2015 just ahead of Brett Gardner and behind Dexter Fowler. Within the National League only they would rank 8th [Middle of Road], and in solely the NL East they would be better than the Braves Cameron Maybin and the Nationals Michael Taylor...but worse than the Phillies Odubal Herrera and the Marlins Christian Yelich.)
HOT STOVE REPORT (courtesy of mlbtraderumor.com)
- All Quite on the Hot Stove.