In the midst of the MLB Winter Meetings, many rumors surfaced that the New York Mets were shopping second baseman Daniel Murphy but with lukewarm interest from all but a few teams. There were rumblings that the Baltimore Orioles were interested and that the two sides could be able to reach a deal, but nothing serious materialized. The reason why nothing has happened with Murphy and why nothing is likely to happen in the near future is that the Mets’ asking price for him is too high.
General manager Sandy Alderson has come out and said that the Mets wouldn’t be giving away players for free. This is yet another example of Alderson playing hardball on the trade market, which is a tactic he has used in the past with great success. But in the case of Murphy he may be taking it a little far and being unreasonable.
When discussing Murphy with the Orioles, one of the first names the Mets asked about is pitching prospect Dylan Bundy. While it doesn’t hurt to ask, Alderson is crazy if he thinks other teams value Murphy on par with one of the best pitching prospects in baseball. Alderson needs to be a bit more realistic when discussing players he could get in return for Murphy.
Obviously, the Mets don’t have to trade Murphy, so Alderson should drive a hard bargain and shouldn’t be in a hurry to unload him for something. However, the Mets do have alternatives at second base, Murphy’s value may never get higher than it is coming off last season, and Murphy is one of the best trade chips the Mets have this offseason. Now is clearly the time to trade him, but if Alderson thinks he’s going to get an elite pitching prospect for him he’s sadly mistaken.
The Mets need to come down on their price demands just a little with regard to Murphy, and that will make it more likely for them to reach a fair trade with one of the few teams that are interested in acquiring him. If they don’t, the Mets are essentially closing the door on the possibility of trading Murphy, and at this point the Mets shouldn’t be closing the door on anything. Even if they ultimately end up keeping Murphy, they at least need to know that it wasn’t due to putting an unreasonably high price on him.