On trading either Wilmer Flores or Daniel Murphy

Daniel MurphyThe Mets reportedly failed to get top pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez from the Orioles in return for Ike Davis. The conundrum seems to be that the Mets still see value in Davis, while most team see Davis for what he is: a guy who hits dingers and really doesn’t do anything else all that well. At this point the Mets may have to settle for selling low on Davis if they want to get him off their roster. However, if they put together a package including either Daniel Murphy or Wilmer Flores, they would probably command the value they want.

Murphy, by himself, has a lot of value. There isn’t a lot of depth in baseball when it comes to second basemen that can both hit and field. Last year, Murphy compiled a fWAR of 3.0, which was seventh among second basemen. He ranks right in between Chase Utley and Brian Dozier. The highest was some guy named Robinson Cano who had a fWAR of 6.0. Essentially, Murphy is worth 50% of Cano, yet costs 15% of what Cano would. There is definitely some value in Murphy, and certain teams would probably be willing to pay a premium for his services.

The dilemma that faces the Mets right now is that one of their top hitting prospects — Wilmer Flores — lacks a position. This is definitely hurting Flores’s value, and a shortage of playing time could be detrimental to his development. Alderson has a choice. He can trade Murphy for some prospects or a nifty outfielder, and allow Flores to take over at second base, or he can use Flores as chip and would probably have to sell low on him.

Trading Murphy is risky, since we pretty much already know what we are going to get with him — a guy with quick hand and decent fielding who somehow manages to command a lot of value compared to most second basemen. If Flores fills in for Murphy, we can’t safely assume that he will bloom into as good a second baseman as is Murphy (although Flores is more known for his bat than he is for his glove).

While trading Murphy might end up opening up a hole at second base, the Mets would get better value from him than trying to trade Flores or Davis. The Mets may have to sweeten the deal a little bit more by adding in a couple of mid-level prospects. However, given the track record Alderson has had with trading veterans for prospects it may very well be a good idea to give up the value of Murphy for a left-handed pitching prospect. Whether the Orioles are willing to agree to this is a whole other story.

The Mets can’t seem to get what they want for Davis, so they might as well either up the return and trade Murphy, or try their hand at dealing Flores. The bottom line is that they have a logjam in the infield, and when you have too much depth in area it’s a good idea to gid rid of it so that you can fill a weakness. The Mets can do that by either getting rid of Murphy or Flores, but they can’t keep both.

22 comments for “On trading either Wilmer Flores or Daniel Murphy

  1. tommyb
    December 29, 2013 at 12:57 pm

    Your article is incomplete – they should trade Murphy, an above average second baseman, and a few mid-level prospects, for a left handed pitching prospect from Baltimore – I figured out that it was Rodriguez you referred to – his stats in minors are OK but we have a # of pitching prospects whose stats are better – seems a lot to give up. Ike I understand – Murphy AND other prospects I don’t.

    I would be fine with Flores being the eventual 1B and Murphy at second – I think that combo over a full year (say 2015) is 75-80 doubles and 25-30 HR, about .280 – .300, 160 – 180 RBI. A lot more consistency than Ike. And a counterbalance of lower K’s to many high K Met hitters. Why is that not a consideration, understanding Flores (a former SS) has not played the easier 1B position yet.

    • tommyb
      December 29, 2013 at 1:01 pm

      And by “incomplete” in my previous comment, I mean why not tell readers why this Rodriguez guy is so great, we should trade that much in return…why, for instance, is he better than Steve Matz, whose #’s are better? Is this guy Rodriguez far better than his stats to date? How would he rank vs. pitchers Mets now have in minors?

      • Herb
        December 29, 2013 at 9:46 pm

        Tommy – Rodriguez is ranked the #87 prospect in MLB.com’s Top 100 and as #7 on the list of Top Left Hand Pitchers. At 20 yrs old, he has reached AA, and could see the majors in 2013. By compaarison, Rafael Montero is ranked #98 on that Top 100 list, and he is 23 yrs old. It isn’t reasonable to compare Rodriguez to Matz, who at 2 years older, has less than 1//2 the innings pitched and has never pitched above A ball. The best comp I can come up with in the Mets system is Michael Fulmer, but, at the same age as Rodriguez, he is not nearly as advanced. His stats, however, are quite comparable.

        The fact is that that any of the 3 pitchers Sandy is holding out for, (Eduardo Rodriguez from the Orioles, Travis Thornburg from the Brewers, or Nick Kingham from the Pirates) would be outstanding acquisitions, worth trading Ike for. Those trades are worthy of Alderson, who has proven himself to be a master at getting maximum value.

        • Herb
          December 29, 2013 at 9:49 pm

          I should have said Rodriguez could see the majors in 2014. – typo.

  2. Metsense
    December 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm

    The Mets still have a whole at SS. The Mets can use the $9.3 M estimated for arbitration by trading Davis and Murphy in a package for a shortstop and applying the $9.3 M to his salary. Finding a trade partner may be difficult but Cleveland profiles well. In 2013 Murphy was the 5th best offensive 2B in the NL. If the Mets decide to trade Murphy to improve at shortstop then E Young/ Flores/Satin should soften the offensive blow at second base. Murphy will be a free agent in 2016 so he should have his most trade value between now and spring of 2015. There is no rush to trade Murphy now if the right deal does not come along.
    Young would have the inside track if Murphy was traded but I would prefer Flores if he showed he could do it in Spring Training. I don’t consider the Mets having a “logjam” at this point in time at second base when they can easily let the 22 YOA Flores get another full season at AAA.

    • Jerry Grote
      December 29, 2013 at 9:54 pm

      Unless I’m mistaken, Asdrubel Cabrera is on the last year of his deal and goes free agent 2015. No thanks, not at any price and certainly not for Murphy AND Davis.

      I’d certainly be speaking to the Cubbies (Castro, Baez, Lake), but I’m guessing all calls to Chicago aren’t being returned.

      • Metsense
        December 30, 2013 at 8:54 am

        JG, it would only open the dialogue for a trade. There would be other players involved.
        There are also other dynamics involved. Bare bones is that Cabrera, career 335/413/748 and Murphy career 333/424/757 are similar offensive players and a good starting point. Murphy has 2 years of control, Cabrera 1. Now if you add Davis in the mix, what else can the Mets extract from the Indians to make up for Davis and the one extra year of Murphy control? That was my thought process. There is no rush or need to trade Murphy as I stated in the post.

  3. Julian McCarthy
    December 29, 2013 at 2:52 pm

    People should honestly realize that Murphy should not be traded- the guy had more hits than the NL MVP. Not that he is better than Mccutchen, but he is too valuable to the squad. In regards to Flores, he should be the starting 1st baseman by mid-season for the Mets and he has too much upside to move.

    • Jerry Grote
      December 29, 2013 at 3:16 pm

      Every player – short of that “franchise guy” like McCutcheon or David Wright – should be traded when another franchise significantly overvalues the player to the team that owns him.

      It’s just that simple. Everything is for sale. And, if someone wants to trade us a 4 to 5 WAR SS under a reasonable contract for Daniel Murphy and some spare parts, I’m listening.

  4. pablo
    December 29, 2013 at 3:07 pm

    I agree with Julian. The team needs more guys like Murphy. How about a SS that can hit and cover some ground. Everyone keeps referring to that because it expands the core. The idea is to give up as little as possible and get the maximum return. Its not going to be easy, but you got to keep the core and Murphy appears to be part of the core. Might have to give up a prospect, though hopefully not.

  5. Jerry Grote
    December 29, 2013 at 3:11 pm

    trivial point … but necessary:

    Murphy, by having an fWAR of 50% of Cano’s, is not worth half of Robby Cano.

    There are a half dozen or more second baseman worth Daniel Murphy. There are a half dozen players in the game of baseball as valuable as Robinson Cano. The air gets very thin above even 4 WAR, much less above 6.

  6. Dean Barbella
    December 29, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Tommy B-

    I get your point about understanding the pitching prospect in return; yet, I agree with Spencer that it comes down to a Murphy, or Flores trade. Flores doesn’t have enough pop for first. Besides, it would be a shame to waist his fielding from second base. Coming from short, I imagine he’ll be decent.

    Trade Murphy while he’s high and develop Flores. Let the Duda/Satin plattoon play out until we find a better solution.

    • tommyb
      December 29, 2013 at 7:48 pm

      What would you think of 22 year old player X in AAA if in a 4 month stretch – May to August – he played 102 games and hit over .325 with 30 doubles, 4 triples, 15 HR and 85 RBI? Name of player X? Wilmer Flores.

      Flores DOES have pop…you’ll see that soon enough in the majors. He was hurt after his call up, and adjusting. It won’t be long for Wilmer.

      • December 29, 2013 at 8:16 pm

        But you just can’t throw up those numbers devoid of context. Flores put up those numbers playing in a hitter-friendly stadium in a hitter-friendly league. What he did this year in Triple-A was only 8% better than the average hitter for Las Vegas did — including pitchers.

        Cesar Puello’s year in Double-A was much, much more impressive. He was nearly 30% better than the average hitter for Binghamton — including pitchers.

        • TexasGusCC
          December 30, 2013 at 12:59 am

          Brian, indeed you are correct. However, Flores age as compared to the average age is also a consideration. I like the little we saw of the healthy Flores as he seemed to have smart baseball instincts.

          • ReneNYM1
            January 1, 2014 at 10:12 pm

            How come nobody thinks about moving Flores back to SS where he started ,it would solve everything and he can learn for a year till we make our run in 2015.

            • January 2, 2014 at 9:26 am

              Because he’d be worse than Derek Jeter at SS and no one wants to see that.

  7. Herb
    December 29, 2013 at 5:40 pm

    Spencer – I find your statement “most team see Davis for what he is: a guy who hits dingers and really doesn’t do anything else all that well.” myopic and ill conceived. If that were true, Baltimore, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee would have all moved on and traded for one of the other first basemen on the market. (none of which have Ike Davis’ upside) Mitch Moreland has one 20+ HR season, and not much else, while Justin Smoak is just plain inferior, which is why Seattle signed 2 other first basemen. Ike Davis had a great 2011 before colliding with Wright, and then he came back to mount excellent second halves in both 2012 and 2013 after his disasterous starts in those years. IMHO, that’s the Davis that teams see . . a guy who can hit .280-.290 with a .900+ OPS, 30+ HRs and one of the best fielding first basemen in the majors. Sandy is in the driver’s seat, and he can wait the market out because he has the best product. He wants a pitcher that he can slot into the #5 spot in this year’s rotation, not a kid with an ETA of 2016. He’s well stocked with those. If he can’t get whet he wants, he will not sell low. Definitely not. In that event, Ike will be in the mix to start at 1B for the Mets or platoon with Satin next season.

    Regarding Flores or Murphy, I do not believe Alderson has any thought of trading Wilmer at this time. His value is not high enough. Murphy, however, is another story. His value has never been higher, and once again Alderson is in the driver’s seat, since he would be just as happy to keep Murphy as the starting second baseman. I don’t think the market for Murphy is as strong as it is for Davis. My bet, therefore, is that Murphy and Flores stay, but Ike is gone and we get a good #5 starting pitcher.

    • Name
      December 29, 2013 at 10:44 pm

      “that’s the Davis that teams see . . a guy who can hit .280-.290 with a .900+ OPS, 30+ HRs and one of the best fielding first basemen in the majors”

      Someone needs a reality check. Reminds me of those pawn shop shows where a guy comes in thinking he has this million dollar item… and then the guy behind the counter tells him that it’s really worth 10 bucks.

    • NormE
      December 29, 2013 at 10:56 pm

      I often find myself in agreement with you, but I think you’re off base (pardon the pun) on Ike’s fielding. He built his defensive reputation on a few spectacular over-the-rail catches early in his Met career. However, both the stats and my eyeballs tell me that he has regressed defensively.
      He may be better than Duda, but that’s not really a compliment. As measured by the reluctance of other teams to give up any real value for Ike should tell you how far he has fallen.

    • Jerry Grote
      December 30, 2013 at 8:16 am

      Be careful with your numbers Herb.

      Yes, when he returned from Las Vegas Ike hit .290 with plus plus numbers for August. But remember your eyes, not looking solely at the stat sheet.

      A finer look at Ike Davis shows he had a two week surge from August 1 to mid August where he was at roughly a 1.200 OPS. He quickly regressed to .207 BA with a .330 OBP, which was right in line with his year numbers.

      Most importantly when he returned to Queens, he hit a total of 4 HR in 170 AB from July 5 to August 31. When another team is looking at Ike Davis, *that* is what bears the most importance.

      The devil is in the details. He did NOT have a great second half in 2013, far from it and if he did, the Mets would already have Yunel Escobar or any one of the pitching prospects they long for.

  8. December 30, 2013 at 1:15 am

    Spencer I agree with what you wrote all the way up to the point of giving up Murphy for a left handed “prospect”. Murphy has put the time and effort to make himself the player we see today. You know he can do at the major league level. A pitching prospect who may some day have an impact on a major league roster is taking an unnecessary risk. You quantify Murphy at number 7, you look for added value by packaging him with Ike and then you propose a trade for a player who may never reach the major leagues. If you’re going to package him for an outfielder like CarGo then I could see your reasoning. You have to give up something in order to get something in return.

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