Tender Or Non-Tender: Daniel Murphy

Andy Lyons

The Mets' second baseman is due for a raise in arbitration.

By December 2, Major League Baseball teams must decide whether or not to tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. If a team tenders such a player an offer, the two sides generally come to terms on that player’s salary long before actually going to arbitration. If the team does not tender the player a contract, the player becomes a free agent.

Heading into 2014, the Mets have eleven arbitration-eligible players. MLB Trade Rumors released its salary estimates for the group yesterday and predicts Murphy will earn $5.8 million in 2014, his second season of arbitration eligibility.

With a 106 wRC+, Daniel Murphy was the Mets’ fifth-best hitter among Mets player with at least 100 plate appearances this season. Of the seventeen qualified second basemen in baseball, Murphy ranked just eleventh. But with very good baserunning and slightly-below-average defense per the metrics, his 3.0 fWAR ranked seventh at the position this year.

For his career, Murphy has a 107 wRC+, and he’s only been well above average at the plate twice, for a short stint in the big leagues in 2008 and in 109 games in 2011. But his career numbers are much more indicative of the player he is today: a good, not great, second baseman.

Our own Matthew Yaspan guessed that Murphy would get a $4.9 million contract in arbitration this winter, a bit lower than MLBTR’s projection. It’s probably fair to assume Murphy’s salary would fall somewhere within that range.

Even if Murphy gets $5.8 million for 2014, there’s no way the Mets would non-tender him and let him hit free agency for no return. If the team would rather go with another player at the position next year—be it Wilmer Flores or a free agent—Murphy would very likely have trade value.

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