Despite their impact on the New York Mets’ success this season, infielder Daniel Murphy and outfielder Yoenis Cespedes are still unlikely to re-sign with the Mets in free agency, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports writes.
Both Murphy and Cespedes played key roles in the Mets’ 4-2 victory over the Chicago Cubs last night in game one of the NLCS. Murphy provided another home run, this time off Cubs’ pitcher Jon Lester to put the Mets on the board. He also contributed a sparkling defensive play to seal the victory. While Cespedes was relatively quiet at the plate, he gunned down a runner at home plate to keep the game tied at 1 in the 5th inning.
Looking back at both Murphy and Cespedes’ contributions in the regular season, the Mets likely would not have made it to this point — even with their freakishly young, talented, and successful starting pitching.
The 30-year-old Murphy had arguably the best season of his seven-year Mets career. In 130 games, Murphy hit.281 with 73 RBI, and a career-high 14 HR. While his defense generally leaves a lot to be desired, he is capable of playing at first, second, and third base. He also has experience in the outfield, in a pinch.
This latest news furthers a report from the Inquisitr last week regarding Murphy’s future. With younger options at second base already in the organization (Dilson Herrera, Wilmer Flores) and Murphy viewed as “good, not great” player, the Mets will likely go in a direction direction at the keystone next season.
With his fourth HR of this postseason, Daniel Murphy tied a franchise record pic.twitter.com/1e54zCnw9E
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) October 18, 2015
But as one NL scout put it to Heyman, Murphy’s postseason heroics will line his pockets no matter where he signs.
“Murphy’s made himself millions.”
After struggling to score runs for much of the first half, the Mets acquired Cespedes from the Detroit Tigers. With his insertion into the lineup, the Mets went on a tear, significantly increasing their runs per game. With his brute strength, Cespedes was able to mash 17 HR and drive in 44 runs in 57 games with the Mets. In 159 total games, Cespdes finished batting.291 with 35 HR and 105 RBI — and finished third in MLB in extra-base hits, with 83.
Prodigious power like the kind Cespedes possesses is causing the Mets to give more thought to bringing the Cuban import back for 2016 and beyond. But as Heyman notes and Cespedes himself confirmed, he will seek a contract of at least six years in free agency.
Céspedes just told me in our @BBTN and @SportsCenter interview that he will be looking for a contract of 6+ years pic.twitter.com/Hd4mlJX2Cg — Marly Rivera ~ ESPN (@MarlyRiveraESPN) September 18, 2015
Despite playing the world’s biggest media and financial market, the Mets are not ones to frivolously spend. GM Sandy Alderson told ESPN that the team would not ink anymore $100 million contracts after signing team captain David Wright.
“We’ve been in that stratosphere once recently with David Wright. Those were special circumstances. I think it would be difficult to duplicate that again — not from a financial standpoint, just in terms of team-building. I think it’s difficult to concentrate those kinds of resources into very few players. It’s not really the way you build a quality, sustainable, winning team, I don’t think.”
With Cespedes’ desired contract length and his proven skills on the field, any team looking to sign him is looking at a commitment of at least $100-140 million over six-or-seven years. That could prove to be too much for the Mets liking, and one rival executive tells Heyman that based on talks with Mets people, “I will be shocked if they sign Cespedes.”
Additionally, the Mets face a bit of a logjam in the outfield next season. Mainstay Juan Lagares, rookie sensation Michael Conforto, and veterans Michael Cuddyer and Curtis Granderson are under contract for 2016. Also, Cespedes’ game does not revolve around walks and getting on base, which is not the Mets’ offensive mindset. Yet, if Cespedes and/or Murphy do not re-sign, the Mets will face quite the dilemma.
The duo currently occupy the third and fourth spots in the Mets’ lineup. So one rival executive posed the question to Heyman.
“You lose your 3 and 4 hitters, what are you replacing them with?”
Certainly, replacing the combined 31 HR and 117 RBI Murphy and Cespedes produced would be hard to find elsewhere, especially with a cost-conservative mentality. But for now, the Mets will simply focus on the present and concern themselves on the future in the offseason where they will have a lot of decisions to make.
[Image by Harry How / Getty Images]