Daniel Murphy’s law and the Wilmer Flores conundrum

Imagine if you will a player, with extremely good hitting ability, a body that should support growing power and enough discipline to hack it in the majors.  All that has been holding him back is an inability to actually play a given position.  Yet now… he seems to have found a position where he can supply adequate defense.  The problem, you already have a player set to play that position.

Anyone remember when Daniel Murphy was the Mets first baseman and he got hurt?  Then a prospect got promoted and he stopped being their first baseman.  Daniel Murphy is hurt, but it’s not that serious, what IS serious is that Wilmer Flores is making a strong case to be the future Mets 2B in a hurry.  What does one do with Murphy (whose bat is not the problem) if Flores is ready to replace him?

Forgive me if I rule out either player in the outfield.  Flores finally found a home… let him keep it and Murphy cannot play in the outfield.  So what do the Mets do?

Option 1: Trade Murphy – Murphy would be useful to a team needing a utility infielder with a contact oriented lefty bat.  Perhaps a team who has questionable health at 3rd, 2nd or 1st and would like a player who could share time all across the diamond.  There are probably a few teams who would be happy to get their hands on Murphy, but who might they give back?

Murphy is not worth a “Top Prospect” so I would probably rule out the top 10 prospects of every other team.  Murphy is cheap and a relative “proven commodity” and that IS worth something though.  Perhaps a deal could be made for his equivalent talent at a more needed position.  Surely there would be a team that needs an infielder that could part with an equally talented outfielder.  The White Sox could trade Dewayne Wise was the only one that remotely made sense and even that isn’t one I’d be happy about.  So the answer would probably be trading Murphy for outfield prospects who were outside the top 10 but higher in the minors.  The Yankees’ Zolio Almonte comes to mind as an example.

Option 2: Trade Flores – Flores with the ability to play 2B or 3B with the bat he has is actually pretty darn valuable and you WOULD be talking about Top 10 prospects from most teams but I wonder… would those

34 comments for “Daniel Murphy’s law and the Wilmer Flores conundrum

  1. pal88
    March 2, 2013 at 8:55 am

    Let the season play out..Murphy with the Mets…Flores at Las Vegas (at second)…make the decision in Oct 13

    • David Groveman
      March 2, 2013 at 11:51 am

      A sensible approach.

  2. chavez06
    March 2, 2013 at 9:09 am

    Like the idea of keeping Flores. We know what we will get of Murph offensively, Wilmer, although unproven, has the potential to be better. Since we are rebuilding, what about packaging Gee and Murph in a single trade… perhaps at the deadline this year season… might be able to return a decent OF prospect. Rotation in 2014 could be Harvey, Wheeler, Niese, Montero, Mejia/McHugh/Gorski/ or another 1-yr deal like Marcum.

    • David Groveman
      March 2, 2013 at 11:52 am

      Key is that it would be a “decent” prospect and not the next Bryce Harper or Mike Trout.

  3. March 2, 2013 at 9:30 am

    God help us Dave. It seems that every time I read one of your blogs the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. So Flores looks like a competent replacement at second base. So what’s your solution? Why of course trade Flores and keep Murphy. Why I am shocked? A spray hitter with minimal pop on his bat. As you stated what team is looking for a spray hitter who is an average defender at best?I see the Mets 360 bloggers defend Murphy to the death and yet when you mention possibly trading Murphy you can’t even ask for a top 10 prospect in return. Why? In the American League DH’S are usually long ball hitters.So your limiting his market already. I guess we have a tendency to over value our players because our expectations have become so abysmal. Wake up please. If you’re not going to get equal value in return then why trade him?

    • David Groveman
      March 2, 2013 at 11:56 am

      Peter, it seems that you did not get the point. I was pointing out that the Mets COULD trade Murphy instead of Flores. Also in what world IS Murphy worth a top 10 prospect? I am simply confused by your reaction. I am simply pointing out that the Mets may have options and you apparently think I am saying something else.

  4. Craig
    March 2, 2013 at 10:48 am

    Give Flores 2nd base he’s ready now!! 15-20 HRS and 75 RBI’s or more and he’s right handed!
    Trade Murphy ASAP and get what you can he’s free agent after this season anyway and Flores
    is 21 years old and under control for a while so the mets won’t have to worry about the
    whole infield for years!

    • David Groveman
      March 2, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Mets could do that and if the Mets got an outfielder who could help this year we would be all the better. With: Wright, Tejada, Flores, Davis and d’Arnaud we could be looking at a circa 1999 infield.

  5. NCMetFan
    March 2, 2013 at 11:20 am

    Flores should go to AAA while Murph tries to rise to the challenge Alderson put out there for him, hit with more power. If Murph is what he is and doesn’t show more pop then trading him at the deadline if Flores is ready doesn’t hurt anything. It actually helps since it preserves a year of Flores under team control and prevents Super Two status for him. The worst option, barring serious injury to Murph is to bring up Flores sooner than May. If Murph does show he can look for his pitch and drive it more then his trade value goes up considerablly. Patience is key here. Fortunately the current Met leadership has established a history of deliberate, non-reactionary moves and I’m confident they will make the smart move.

    • David Groveman
      March 2, 2013 at 11:58 am

      Again, this is the most sensible and logical approach.

    • Brian
      March 2, 2013 at 12:13 pm

      I agree with this approach of sending Flores to AAA for now. Let him coninue to work at second base. I also agree that Murphy alone will not bring back any long term solutions for the outfeild but I believe he would be a solid peice of a package that could.

      • March 4, 2013 at 12:32 pm

        You are probably right that Murphy alone might not bring back a “Long-Term” solution in the outfield but packaging Murphy with Michael Fulmer and potentially others might. Murphy has value right now to a number of teams.

        • Linda De Voe
          March 5, 2013 at 8:53 am

          You cannot package Murphy with Fulmer as Fulmer is too valuable of a commodity at this time. You could place Murphy with Mejia or Gorski. Remember Gorski is a lefty and lefties are always a hot commodity.

          • March 5, 2013 at 9:30 am

            You have to give something to get something and Gorski is not a hot commodity. My bet is he develops into a serviceable LOOGY (which is worth something). You package Murphy with a prospect that people would want to get an impact bat.

    • Metsense
      March 2, 2013 at 7:21 pm

      Murphy should have been shopped (or packaged) during the winter meetings for an outfielder because that was their greatest need. Trading Murphy would have had the least impact on the lineup.
      NL Avg: 13 HR, 66 RBI, .713 OPS
      Murphy: 6 HR, 65 RBI, .735 OPS -9.0 UZR
      Turner: 2 HR, 19 RBI, .711 OPS 0.0 UZR
      Valdespin: 8 HR, 26 RBI, .710 OPS 0.2 UZR
      It would have resulted in two average NL secondbaseman in a platoon. The icing on the cake is that Flores looks ready but I agree with my fellow North Carolinian on the handling of Flores.
      David, a very fine thought provoking article, and I agree that Murphy would have omly brought back a decent outfielder not a prospect.

  6. Name
    March 2, 2013 at 1:17 pm

    I don’t see this as an issue now. I’d like to see Flores play at AAA for a bit before deciding what to do with him.

    If i had to place money i’d say it will sort itself out, whether it is one of Flores/Murphy getting hurt, or Flores stinking so bad in AAA, or maybe even something like Ike/Wright getting hurt.

  7. March 2, 2013 at 8:30 pm

    I apologize. I misunderstood what you were trying to say. Putting Flores at second base is a better option for the future of the Mets. The Mets believe in Murphy otherwise they wouldn’t have tried so hard to find a home for him. But Murphy is a DH. Finding an American League team that will take him is not going to be easy. That was my point. Unless the Mets are willing to make a package deal for an outfielder.

    • March 3, 2013 at 11:45 am

      I’m sorry, I disagree that Murphy is only a DH. He would be an asset for a bunch of teams at either 1B or 3B but the Mets have those positions covered.

      Murphy has played 1,329 innings in his career at first base and he has 20 Defensive Runs Saved. Last year Adam LaRoche played 1,323.1 innings at first base and had 8 Defensive Runs Saved. And LaRoche is considered one of the best fielders in baseball! No first baseman in the majors had as many as 20 DRS last year – Mark Teixeira led the way with 17.

      Murphy would be a slightly below-average hitter for a first baseman and an above-average fielder. And he has hit better in the past than he did last year. It’s hard for me to look at the total of Murphy’s contributions and see him as anything less than an average MLB first baseman – even without the ability to pop 30 HR.

      And he came up as a third baseman. I would imagine that he would be at least average with the glove for the position and his hitting would fit even better at third than at first.

      Murphy is learning a new position on the fly at the MLB level. My biased eyes tell me he got better as the year progressed in 2012. I expect he’ll improve his performance there in 2013, too. No, he’ll never be a threat to win a Gold Glove. But his ability to play his third-best position at this rate is something to be appreciated.

  8. kjs
    March 2, 2013 at 10:56 pm

    I,d love to see Murphy be the PH off the bench (he’s impressive at that). He can adequately spell Wright, a real 2B, and if needed at 1B and the OF (sorta). His lack of power is intriguing for the wrong reasons. But no use in just dumping him. Just accept that he’s a 2Bman only for a bad club.

    • David Groveman
      March 3, 2013 at 10:27 pm

      Never suggested dumping him. Suggested trading him for an outfielder.

  9. ronbo
    March 3, 2013 at 8:22 am

    trading Murphy by himself is not going to get us what we need in the way of top 10 outfielder and in order for that to happen a package of players would have to be in the mix.I would leave Murphy at 2nd base to start the season and have Flores stay at AAA to keep working out at second and improving his skills.Lets watch how the seasons progresses by the all star break we will know where we stand and what has to be done to further improve the Mets.In the long run wheather this year or next I believe Murphy will be involved in being traded.

  10. March 3, 2013 at 12:25 pm

    I don’t think it’s Daniel Murphy’s fault. If as you say he’s a better than average first baseman Why do the Mets currently have 3 first basemen on their 25 man roster? Duda’s natural position is first base as well. Trying to find a place for these players to play every day is not an easy task.Hey Brian what do you think the Mets will do if Flores is ready and playing well. At the very least if Murphy is hitting to his capabilities then the Mets have more flexibility and can wait patiently for some team to contact them before the trading deadline.

    • March 3, 2013 at 12:33 pm

      Back in September of 2011, I wrote an article talking about how the pieces on the Mets didn’t fit and that Alderson needed to turn to the trade market to try and better balance his roster. Nothing much has changed since then…

      I haven’t seen enough of Flores to make an educated guess as to whether he can hack it at 2B. He came up as a SS so you would think that he could do it. But, he looks like a giant out there – so I’d by lying if I said I didn’t have my doubts.

      My hunch is that Flores and a SP get packaged for a bopper in the OF.

      • Metsense
        March 3, 2013 at 7:39 pm

        Brian, the fact that Alderson hasn’t tinkered with his personell has been the most frustrating part of this front office. Sometimes small trades that slightly improve the team and get the right people in the right spot in order for them to succeed, is the mark of a good GM. Again I’ll reference the Walt Bellamy, Howie Komives for Dave DeBuschere trade as the perfect example.(I can use it because Dave pitched for the White Sox).

  11. March 3, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    What do you mean by he looks like a giant out there?

    • March 3, 2013 at 9:56 pm

      When I think of a second baseman, I think of Joe Morgan – all 5’7, 160 pounds. Flores is listed at 6’3, 190 pounds (bet he weighs more) and it doesn’t fit with my preconceived notion of what a 2B should look like.

      • Yazzy
        March 5, 2013 at 9:09 am

        He (Flores) doesn’t look bad at second base. The height may not be as much of an issue as there have been some tall second baseman and shortstops along the way. I am surprised the Mets said they were gonna try Lutz and Flores in the outfield and they only have Lutz at 1st base? Lutz has been hitting solidly and perhaps can be better in a corner outfield position than he has been at 1st and 3rd, and Flores at second? Lutz is righthanded which they Mets are in need of anyway. Wouldn’t hurt to give him or Havens a shot at the outfield?

        • March 5, 2013 at 9:29 am

          Havens doesn’t have the arm for the outfield IMHO. I was a big fan of Havens but he’s not that fast and his defensive tools are limiting.

  12. March 3, 2013 at 9:12 pm

    All we heard from Sandy was that the Met payroll would be about the same or a little higher this coming season. As of today their payroll sits at 71 million with 15 spots probably at minimum wages brings the total to about 80 million. So when was Sandy going to pull the trigger for a corner outfielder? Next season he’s still going to have the same issues. Would he or should he inquire about the availability of Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins?

    • Yazzy
      March 5, 2013 at 9:37 am

      No. The payroll will increase plus the Mets will have Bay of their books and somewhat less of Santana’s payments too. This will make the team more active in the free agent market. I still think both Byrd and Cowgill were really good pick-ups. Duda if he can hit over 26o with at least 20 homers which he should be able to manufacture gives us an American league DH that can be traded. SA still has not looked into Dariel Alvarez which I feel is a huge Mets mistake as the guy is only 24 and is right handed and plays all three outfield positions and has some pop. He put u good numbers both in CUba and Mexico. Sandy has been too slow to move on some possibly good international prospects and I do not know why. The Cards are very interested in this kid and are ready to make a move. Mets need to be more proactive not reactive.

  13. mk610
    March 4, 2013 at 6:48 pm

    Leave Murphy alone. He’s one of the few professional hitters the Mets have. If he’s healthy he can hit .330 or so. How many others on that team can match that?

  14. March 4, 2013 at 9:40 pm

    He’s never going to hit that. he may have the skllls for a potential that you will never see realize. We as fans tend to over estimate the value of our favorite players. So if injuries continue to plague him that’s unfortunate but it might give the Mets the opportunity to see rhat they have behind him.

    • Yazzy
      March 5, 2013 at 9:01 am

      Murphy might hit 300 and his fielding has improved and might continue to improve. I say he has to be packaged with a halfway decent pitching prospect and possibly throw in Niewenhuis who only knows how to strike out and get hurt as a sort of compensation pick. If you present that for a good hitting, fielding outfielder we may have a chance in 2014?

      • March 5, 2013 at 9:27 am

        Your package is not gonna get Top Flight talent. You will get someone who would be an improvement over what we have but you aren’t offering enough for a star player.

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