As expected, Daniel Murphy rejected the Mets’ $15.8-million qualifying offer this afternoon, a decision that makes a winner out of both sides.
Here’s how the Mets are winners:
1) They will receive a compensatory draft pick, which is what they really wanted in the first place.
2) With Murphy gone, the Mets are able to pursue free-agent Ben Zobrist, who is a better player, and if unable to sign him, are free to move Wilmer Flores from shortstop to second base, where he’s stronger defensively. The Mets can also explore playing Dilson Herrera at second base if they prefer.
3) With no financial obligations to Murphy, the Mets have $15.8 million free to spend elsewhere.
4) Whatever retooling plans the Mets have, they can move on to them quickly.
Here’s how Murphy is a winner:
1) The Mets can still sign Murphy if they choose, but aren’t expected to make the effort. Doesn’t that really mean they didn’t want him in the first place?
2) Coming off a stellar postseason, Murphy is in the prime earning years of his career. Had he accepted the qualifying offer, he would have delayed free agency by one year, and taken a huge gamble that likely wouldn’t have been rewarded with a multi-year contract. He’ll likely be offered a contract the Mets wouldn’t come close to making.
3) Much has been made of Murphy’s defensive limitations, but now he’s free to sign with an American League team and be a designated hitter.
4) The Mets yanked Murphy around for years at a variety of positions and numerous times attempted to trade him. Now, he’ll be able to sign with a team that really wants him.
Where will Murphy go? The Dodgers and Yankees are two teams prominently mentioned, but Houston and the Angels are other possible suitors.