The Mets have until Friday to decide whether to give free agent Daniel Murphy the qualifying offer of $15.8 million dollars. Mike Vorkunov of The Star-Ledger tweets that Sandy Alderson said that the Mets decision would come right down to the wire. Whatever the decision, the Mets should not re-sign him.
The question of whether to sign Murphy to a lucrative long-term deal was always a difficult one, and that was before he went wild in the NLDS and NLCS. Now he is a Mets folk hero, and letting him go will be that much harder. But ultimately, it would be the best thing for the Mets.
Murphy is a fine hitter; you don’t hit .288 for a career if you don’t know what you are doing at the plate. With 38 strikeouts, he was the toughest batter to fan in baseball in 2015. And if his post-season is to believed, he has discovered his power stroke.
But Murphy is just an awful fielder, as his crucial error in Game 4 reminded us. And he seems to be getting worse as the years go on. Do the Mets really want to invest up to five years or more in Murphy — who knows what his fielding will look like then?
Then there is the cost of re-signing him. He was probably already in line for a contract calling for $10 million to $12 million a year before his post-season explosion. Now he will likely garner upwards of $15 million per season. That is an awful lot of money to spend for a player of Murphy’s abilities.
If the Mets do make the qualifying offer, they would get a draft pick if another team signs him. Of course, they assume the risk that Murphy takes it, leaving them on the hook for $15.8 million for 2016. That could be a budget-buster for them. So while an offer is probable, it is not guaranteed.
In any case, it is likely Daniel Murphy has played his last game for the Mets. If so, he will always be remembered for his record-setting performance and his overall solid Mets career.