Could the Texas Rangers Be a Fit for Daniel Murphy?

As most teams whittle down their rosters in preparation for opening day, the Texas Rangers were dealt a last-minute curveball. Rangers’ starting second baseman Jurickson Profar will miss 10-12 weeks after suffering a slight muscle tear in his right shoulder, according to U-T San Diego’s Dennis Lin.

Even though the Rangers prefer to tap someone internally to take Profar’s place, per Fort Worth Star-Telegram’s Jeff Wilson, such a decision would either involve starting non-roster invitee Kensuke Tanaka or rushing 20-year-old prospect Rougned Odor.

Instead, general manager Jon Daniels could do what he’s done so many times before: make a “win-now” trade. And New York Mets’ second baseman Daniel Murphy would be a perfect fit.

Murphy enjoyed a productive season for the Mets in 2013. The 28-year-old posted a .286 batting average, park-adjusted 108 OPS+, 13 home runs and 23 stolen bases over 697 plate appearances. While the left-handed hitter only walked at a 4.5 percent clip and gloved a minus-13 DRS, Murphy’s season was still worth 1.8 bWAR.

Unlike Daniels’ more typical “win-now” maneuvers, however, Murphy will still be under team control through 2015 and won’t become a free agent until 2016. And when Profar returns from injury, the Rangers can simply bump Mitch Moreland from his designated hitter duties and reap the benefits of not using Murphy in the field.

The Rangers also match-up well with the Mets in terms of their organization needs: young outfielders and infielders. Odor, who is the Rangers’ top prospect, would obviously be off the table—but perhaps outfielder Michael Choice could be for the taking.

Choice, 24, was acquired from the Oakland Athletics this offseason in exchange for Craig Gentry and Josh Lindblom. The right-handed batter hit to the tune of a .302 batting average, 11.5 percent walk rate, .835 OPS and 14 home runs at Triple-A in 2013. Per SB Nation’s John Sickels, Choice doesn’t have “much left to prove [and] just needs the opportunity to play.” Yet, with Shin-Soo Choo and Alex Rios manning the corner outfield slots, Choice will—at best—be a platoon partner with Moreland this season.

If the Rangers prefer keeping Choice, the Mets could also ask Daniels about Nick Williams and Luis Sardinas, a pair of 20-year-old outfield and middle-infield prospects, respectively.

Nick Williams spent 2013 at Single-A, posting a .293 batting average, .879 OPS, 17 home runs and eight stolen bases over 404 plate appearances. SB Nation’s John Sickels tabbed Williams’ skills as “marvelous,” but also “overaggressive.” Regardless, if the Mets added the Texas native to their organization, he would instantly become the team’s most exciting, power-hitting outfield prospect.

Mets’ general manager Sandy Alderson could also inquire about shortstop Luis Sardinas. Sardinas currently lacks the power to be a stud major league hitter, but the defense-first infielder also owns a career minor league .292 batting average, 6.5 percent walk rate and 74 stolen bases over 1159 plate appearances.

Even if the youngster’s power never arrives, FanGraphs’ Mike Newman still considers Sardinas the “best shortstop you’ve never heard of.”

To fill Murphy’s second base gig, the Mets could tap either Eric Young Jr. or Wilmer Flores—which would also free up center field for Juan Lagares. And if you’re of the belief that not starting Lagares could result in less wins for the Mets in 2014, then dealing Murphy makes that much more sense.

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39 responses to “Could the Texas Rangers Be a Fit for Daniel Murphy?

  1. Murphy hits left handed.

  2. Theron Steiner

    I’m a Mets fan, so I would be curious what the Mets would get in return, which is why I read this. Interesting, thanks. Now, about that last paragraph – I think you mean “fewer” rather than “less” wins.

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  5. None of the players mentioned to trade for Murph. Solid 286 hitter, 13 homers, 33 doubles plus smart stolen bases. Played 161 games in 2013. Sandy Alderson is not in the business of running fire sales.

    • Murphy is a terrible defender and doesn’t take walks.

      ZiPS projects Murphy to hit 9 HR / 14 SB in 2014. He’s a solid player, but he’s coming off a season that he’s unlikely to duplicate–and the Mets have plenty of 2B depth (EYJ and Flores).

  6. I would not give up Choice for him, doesn’t sound like a good deal, however a mid level prospect might be more up the right alley, Choice has been on a tear, and never under estimate Ron Washington getting a glove and making Choice the 2nd baseman….

  7. They need to find a place to play Young Jr.and Murph is no Doug Flynn out there. They have a chance to get some value back for a player that plays OK baseball. If they get a player two years from now out of the prospects it’s a good trade.

  8. robert karlsberg

    Murphy’s season is even more impressive when you consider how pathetic the Mets line- up was last year.Very few players could have been that productive in that anemic batting order..Consider what Murph”s production would have been like if he was hitting ahead of better players and hitting in situations where pitchers could not pitch around him.A few seasons ago Murph on a more productive Met’s team was heading toward a possible batting title prior to a seasons ending injury.

  9. The Mets are going to be in “win now” mode next year. Any of those players mentioned will not be ready to make a big league impact next season. A trade like this doesn’t seem to make sense.

    • Choice is MLB-ready today.

      Also, what are the Mets going to win next year, exactly?

      • By next year I mean 2015, by which time I do not think it is unreasonable to expect them to be in the running for a wildcard spot. With a starting rotation anchored by Matt Harvey and featuring (in some order) Wheeler, Syndergaard, Niese, Gee, and/or Colon, is it not feasible this team could make a deep playoff run?

        Obviously a lot will happen between now and September 2015, and we have to see how the young starting rotation develops, but I can’t see how trading a solid hitting second baseman for an outfielder with no MLB experience will help the team.

        The Mets’ biggest needs right now are at SS and 1B. Why add another outfielder when there is already a logjam at the position? To your point of shifting EYJ to second, I don’t hate the idea, but in that scenario I would rather see them move Murphy to first, which would open up CF for Lagares.

        Then, they could move Davis/Duda/some minor league pitching prospects for a SS, which is the biggest hole in the lineup.

        I guess my point is that I think Murphy can be a very solid contributor on a very solid team. With an improving lineup it’s not unreasonable to think he can hit .300 with 15 HR in a season while playing 1B to cover up his suspect fielding. Plus, he’s a lefty and he steals bases. Those aren’t the kind of players you trade away unless you’re in full rebuild mode or you are making an obvious improvement.

      • I don’t think Murphy will hit 15 HRs. But regardless, his offensive production would be below average at first base, so moving him there would kill his current value.

        Good teams find ways to sell high on value (or just know when to let talent go) while still being competitive. The St. Louis Cardinals, for instance, declined re-signing Albert Pujols–who not only was their best hitter, but also, one of the best hitters in baseball at the time. The only reason they’ve succeeded as an organization since is due to their ability to maintain and grow their farm system.

        Simply put, the Mets have a bad hitting prospects. Even if you think the Mets will be competitive in 2015, there is a deeper necessity to building a farm system than merely retaining one replaceable player (Murphy).

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  11. As a Mets fan I would happily take Sardinas off your hands for Murph. That would allow us to play Flores every day at 2B to see if he can handle it. Sardinas would probably be ready next year, when we should be in a better position to make a run at the playoffs. If Sardinas hit .280 with 25-30 SBs even with no pop and play above average SS, that would be a win.

    Sandy has done a great job unloading players at the right time. If he could pull this off, it just continue to prove how good he is…

  12. Daniel murphy should be in the American league. He and his agent and every team in the league knows this. but in reality, the Mets owners think this way: “we have other players who can field but cannot hit their weight, so murph just balances this out so how could we afford to trade him?” by the way I also believe that the team is being run by Bernie Madoff as part of a secret handshake deal between the Wilpons and Madoff-the wilpons thought they could save transaction fees on their big investment scheme by offering Madoff full control over player personnel. Of course this is fictitious, but how else do you explain the team’s personnel moves in the past 5 years. I am sure that they will figure out a way to trade everyone who is coming into their prime for some players at the end of their careers who look good on paper but have little left to give. this is the way they operate. No chance they will make a sensible move like trading for a real shortstop-they have the great omar quantanilla and ruben Tejada! huge shoes to fill there-with the departure of power hitting rey ordonez and kevin elsger.

  13. What a terrible idea….only the METS…Murphy is one of the five best hitting second basemen in all baseball…and did so surrounded in a line-up of minor league hitters (Duda, Valdispin, Satin, basically the bad news bears). Murphy, regardless of sub average fielding, is, as was Jeff Kent, One of the best hitting second basemen – on a team with no hitting – how could you even suggest sometihng so silly – Young is maybe slightly better in the field, low on base (same as Murph) and will hit under 250 with nothing more.
    So your suggestion is to get rid of one of the five best offensive second basemen in all of baseball (american and National league) so that another position and spot in the lineup sinks to one of the lower third hitting second basemen can play with a slight improvement in fielding? Maybe you wanna see the Mets go through more misery – how about ridding us of the second WORST shortstop in baseball or the two winners at first? Why do the Mets always want to get rid of a REAL baseball player but yet hold onto the never going to be anythings – Duda, Tejeda, Young, etc. – ya all in the press make no sense – im betting Murphy in any lineup that is a MAjor Leagu lineup – would hit over 300…..Cano was surrounded by who??? Murphy had Wright (some of the time) otherwise not a single hitter in the entire lineup – how many doubles are you trading away? how many hits are you trading away? Murphy , Wright, Grandy and Lageras are my keepers and the nuclues along with the pithching of a winning team – we need to add another productive hitter or two – not trade one of our best for another 220 hitter…..DO NOT TRADE MURPHY!!!!!

  14. Wouldn’t trade Murphy for any of those guys in a million years…..trade one of your best players for Texas garbage? I think not.

  15. Dude, it is way too early to compare Daniel Murphy to Jeff Kent. Kent, while never appreciated by Mets fans, and let go rather unceremoniously, has hall of fame numbers for 2Bman. He was a power threat every at bat. I kind of like the comparison, because murphy does have a smooth stroke and there’s some power in that stroke too, but again, he’s much more of a fit to an American league team, and on a mets team with a whole lot of one-dimensional players, he’s definitely tradeable in my view for an everyday SS, 1B/man, or OF’er who can both field and hit for some power.

  16. jim wilpon, if you are related to the wilpons who run this team, then i’m sorry but your street cred with respect to talent evaluation approximates that of jim dolan of the knicks. and thankfully for us knick fans dolan finally capitulated and brought in a real basketball guy, phil Jackson to take over op’s. if not, then that’s some coincidence with the name there.

  17. Biggio
    Sandberg
    Kent
    Cano
    Daniel Murphy
    No way guys, you are crazy (or mets front office personnel) to think he’s in that category.

  18. This over-50 year Met fan is tired of trading established talent for prospects, less than half of whom work out. Murphy’s offense is above average for most of the league second basemen and his defense is still adequate. Let contending teams go somewhere else when one of their starters goes down.

  19. Murphy is no Kent or Cano, but I don’t want EYJ and his .310 OBP in the lineup every day. Murph’s OBP isn’t much better, but he has doubles power and hits well in RBI spots.

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