Oh no, the Mets didn’t get Ben Zobrist!
Oh no, the Mets didn’t commit to giving a 35 year old player 13 million dollars a year until he was 39!
In other words, good move, Mets!
With today’s news that Ben “The Inexplicable WAR Anomaly” Zobrist has agreed to a deal with the Cubs (last night, apparently, although the Mets somehow awoke today ‘very optimistic’ that they would get him, and please don’t ask me how because I just don’t know), speculation turned immediately to Daniel Murphy. What will he get? Who knows? Where will he go? Not Queens, if the Mets front office has anything to say about it, and the scary thing is that they almost certainly do.
Zobrist is older than Murph, but better on defense. Zobrist hit 13 home runs last year to Murph’s 14, and stole three bases to Murph’s two, so there’s not much there, but Murphy is also coming off a playoff stretch that I’m sure we all remember. Murph is just entering his prime; Zobrist is leaving his. Murph can steal bases just like Zobrist used to: two years ago, he stole 23. Forced to guess, I’d say Murph gets a deal similar to what Zobrist got, or maybe slightly less.
I really don’t know why the Mets don’t want to pay him. I simply cannot figure it out. Realistically speaking, it can’t be a defensive concern: Murph has steadily improved his defense every year. This year, despite the error that everyone will remember, he was about average. And it can’t be an offensive thing either, because by all measures available, Murph is one of the top offensive second baseman available. Murphy’s career OPS is 755. Asdrubal Cabrera, touted as a possible replacement, has .740. Wilmer Flores has .687. Ruben Tejada has .653. Murph is the guy – if you want offense, and boy oh boy the Mets want offense, you needn’t look further than Daniel Murphy.
But the reasons we need him – because we do need him, we absolutely do – go beyond that. Daniel Murphy, while maintaining his quiet, steady offensive presence, has become an all-time Met. He’s 2nd all-time in doubles. Eighth in batting average. Among all-time Mets second basemen, Murph’s OPS is second only to Jeff Kent. And it goes even further: Murph is – or perhaps was – the last Met to play at Shea Stadium, besides the captain. Murph is the last Met, again besides the captain, who remembers what it was like to play for a team – the Mets of 2006-2008 – that flirted with greatness not as a sudden phantasm, but as a recurring expectation. Murph can handle New York. Murph can hit in the postseason. Murph hits well at Citi Field. The list of intangibles, somewhat-tangibles, and overtly-tangibles goes on and on, and if anything exists that says that he’s not worth $10 million, or even $13 million a year, I can’t find it.
Unfortunately, it seems all but certain that Murph is headed out the door. The Mets have done all but shout publicly that they’re not going to bring him back – well, actually, they’ve done that too. They’ve said publicly that, after losing out on Zobrist, “There is no backup plan.” I hope everyone’s ready for Tejada at short and Dilson Herrera splitting time with Wilmer at second, because that’s what it’s looking like. Murph, you were a helluva player and a helluva teammate off the field (next year, when they ask him how he hit 30 home runs and batted .320, he’ll say that he couldn’t have done it without the team around him, and then list each guy individually). And watching as your time as a Met ends, it’s even worse knowing that by all logical and reasonable thought, it shouldn’t be.