The 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.