With the dust now settled on the 2015 baseball season, the New York Mets find themselves at a crossroads as the offseason begins. Having accomplished so much in a short period of time, the Mets have plenty of questions to answer, such as Terry Collins’ contract situation; the future of the Mets pitching staff, since Matt Harvey is now arbitration eligible, and David Wright’s longevity at third base.
The most immediate question, however, has to do with Daniel Murphy and Yoenis Cespedes, both of whom are set to be free agents.
There is no guarantee that either Cespedes and/or Murphy will return to Flushing in blue and orange, and many have speculated that the Mets are willing to part ways with both players.
On Cespedes, the Mets were able to negotiate a clause in his expiring deal that allows them to be a willing participant in negotiations with the player once he becomes a free agent. Previously, the contact stated the Mets couldn’t negotiate with him until May upon his release.
Regardless, Cespedes will be difficult to sign. He says he wants to be a Met, but will be looking for a six-year deal, and may feel it could be well north of $120 million. In recent years the Mets have been unwilling to commit to such a deal.
Why it’s worth it: Cespedes was unbelievable when acquired after July 31. He belted 17 homers and 44 RBI, and when he is going strong, he can power a team for weeks on end.
Why it’s not worth it: Just look at his postseason. Cespedes hit only .222 with only two homers, eight RBI and one walk to 17 strikeouts. He was even worse in the World Series, batting .150 with six strikeouts and just one RBI. Maybe the shoulder bothered him, but the bottom line is he did nothing when it mattered most. On top of that he failed to track down two fly balls that he ended up kicking in the outfield. Mets fans saw how streaky he can be.
Verdict: The Mets will let him walk. As much as one would like to see his power in the middle of the order, Cespedes’ postseason record, and his poor track record of wearing thin on teams over the long haul is scary for anyone willing to commit more than $120 million to him.
As for \Murphy this is a tougher choice. Murphy is limited defensively at second base, and hasn’t always been the power hitter he displayed in the playoffs. The Mets have no choice but to offer Murphy a $15.8 million qualifying offer because there is a valuable draft pick attached. If Murphy refuses the Mets offer, or is signed by someone else, the Mets get the draft pick.
If the Mets really want to keep Murphy long term, he would be cheaper than Cespedes, but, will still likely command between $10-$14 million per year.
Why he’s worth it: Murphy is a homegrown product. He was great in the NLDS and NLCS, setting a new postseason record for longest streak of home runs per game. He has become a more dependable bat after his work with Kevin Long this season, and it would be interesting to see how he progresses under him in year two.
Why he is not: Ultimately it is the contract money for a player who, while a solid offensive player, is a real liability defensively as the world saw in the World Series. The Mets have a couple kids on the farm they’d like to see play second, but they may not be the hitters Murphy is now.
Verdict: The Mets and Murphy ultimately come to terms on a long-term deal that is reasonable for both, unless someone with deeper pockets like Texas, Anaheim or Los Angeles come calling.