After an up and down season, Daniel Murphy’s final stat line isn’t too bad at all.
.285/.315/.415, .320 wOBA, 106 wRC+, 3.0 fWAR, and for what it’s worth, career highs in hits (186), home runs (13), stolen bases (20, while being caught only three times), triples (four), runs scored (92), and RBIs (76).
The average second baseman this year .256/.316/.375 mark, with a 90 wRC+, meaning that Murphy has been 16 percent better at the plate than the average second baseman.
Fangraphs likes to convert WAR to dollars, and by their calculations, Murphy’s performance this season has been worth $15 million on the open market.
The Mets are paying Murphy just $2.9 million.
In other words, Murphy is due for a big payday soon.
But the Mets can avoid having to play Murphy large increases by offering him a reasonable contract extension once the season is over.
Ideally, the contract would buy out Murphy’s final two years of arbitration eligibility and two-to-three years of free agency.
A 4-year, $28 million contract would not be something totally unreasonable for both sides to agree to.
A Murphy extension would accomplish several goals.
First of all, it would a homegrown above average-to-good everyday second baseman with the Mets. The Mets haven’t had a truly good second baseman since the days of Edgardo Alfonzo, save for one freak year from Jose Valentin. Being able to get solid offensive contributions from a position not associated with solid offensive contributions is a great advantage for a team hoping to compete for the playoffs soon.
The only second basemen in all of baseball with a better weighted Runs Above Average than Murphy are the elite group of Matt Carpenter, Robinson Cano, Jason Kipnis, Chase Utley, Ben Zobrist and Dustin Pedroia. With the exception of Utley and the Phillies, the teams that those players play for are all either in the playoffs or have been serious contenders.
Second, it would send a message to a weary fan base that the spending that keeps getting talked about is going to be for real. By locking up another homegrown fan-favorite, Sandy Alderson will convey that a new era of Mets baseball is beginning.
Now, signing players for the sake of appeasing the fan base is what got the Mets into this mess in the first place (think Jason Bay and Francisco Rodriguez), but a reasonable contract for a consistent 2-3 WAR player is a far cry from $66 million for a 32-year-old left fielder.
This contract would send a message that the Mets are going to do right by their homegrown players and reward them when they produce up to expectations.
That may not directly help them on the baseball field, but to fans who feel alienated by years of losing and front office decisions motivated by slashing payroll and accumulating prospects, it would be a good way to harbor some good faith – and get them to come out to Citi Field.
Of course, a Murphy extension also raises the question of what to do with Wilmer Flores, whose only defensive positions are third base, occupied by the best in baseball, and second base, occupied by Murphy.
Those concerns can be addressed at a later date, however, because Flores is still only 21-years-old, and clearly could stand a little more seasoning down in AAA (I’ll share my opinions on Flores in a future column).
So to answer the question that is the title of this article, yes, the Mets absolutely should extend Murphy, and usher in a new era of baseball in Flushing.
Hopefully one filled with October baseball.
Joe Vasile is a play-by-play announcer for Widener Pride football and the host of “Ball Four” on WTSR in Trenton. Follow him on Twitter at @JoeVasilePBP.