It’s no secret New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy has been on an absolute tear during the 2015 postseason including a current four-game home run streak.
Though the Mets’ season is still going on and Murphy is set to test the market as a free agent following the World Series, the New York media is already trying to sell the idea of Murphy to the New York Yankees.
Of course it makes sense in theory. Stephen Drew is likely done with the Yankees who will walk as a free agent, and the Rob Refsnyder experiment is just that. There’s the idea Ref would work as a platoon with Dustin Ackley.
However buyer beware. We’ve seen teams buy high on free agents based on a hot October. Murphy has quietly put together a solid stat line, hitting roughly .290 the last few seasons and slugging no more than 14 home runs in a single season. Power numbers would likely increase playing every day in Yankee Stadium.
Prior to the mammoth-October by Murphy, he would have been looking at his next contract to be at most three-years for $30 million. Now after his torrid stretch, it would not be inconceivable for teams to bid high on his services. A projected contract is around four years at $50 million. Murphy will be 31-years-old by the time next season starts.
The Yankees absolutely should target Murphy, however should stick to a price-ceiling and not go above it. Another contract worth $40 million for a player on the wrong side of 30 does not bode well for this aging Yankees roster. The Yankees can look no further than their own signing of Chase Headley, who hasn’t exactly resembled a player making $50 million, and who will be 32-years-old as of next May.
Carlos Beltran is a solid example of the modern-day Murphy. In the 2004 postseason Beltran hit eight home runs, tying Barry Bonds for the single postseason record. He has the record for consecutive playoff games with a home run, which is five. Daniel Murphy can tie that record tonight.
Of course Beltran cashed in on that monster October with a seven-year $119 million contract with the Mets. His first four Mets’ seasons were more than respectable, where he hit a franchise record-tying 41 home runs in 2006, and had RBI totals of 116 and 112 twice, respectively.
Though a fine ballplayer in New York, Beltran still managed to draw the ire of Mets fans for being injured, or never quite being what they thought he should be.
The Yankees will lose CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira off the payroll following 2016. The Yankees don’t need to replace aging players with more expensive, aging players.
Again, sign Murphy if it makes sense, but do not overpay. Instead, they need to put that money into their pitching.