With Matt Murton being recently waived by the Rockies, there has been an interesting debate about the Mets claiming him and using him to replace Jeff Francoeur this offseason. Normally, talking about replacing a player on the Mets with some player on another team seems too fantastic for me to take seriously, but there are some circumstances that makes me agree with firejerrymanuel's conclusion that this move could be a nice little litmus test and want to add to what he said.
First, consider the significance of the Wagner trade. The Met forfeited the possibility of getting Type-A compensation (first round pick, plus a compensatory round pick) to save $3MM dollars this season, and avoid the risk of having Wagner accept salary arbitration next season. To me, this move smacks more of mismanaged resources than real cost-cutting. Consider that Wagner would make somewhere between $3-7MM (really rough estimate hence the large range), based on the fact he lost a year. I seriously doubt Wagner would accept arbitration considering his desire to close and make closer money. Also consider, Type A picks have been found to be worth about $3-5MM in surplus value. To reemphasize the value of these picks, the last time the Mets received Type-A compensation they drafted Reese Havens and Brad Holt who quickly became top-5 prospects in our system. Another recent compensatory pick by the Mets? David Wright.
Basically, the Mets threw away the chance to add two top-grade minor leaguers for $2MM dollars in salary relief and Chris Carter+friend. That is a pretty horrible use of a big budget team's resource. Regardless, though, this move means the Mets cannot in any way justify offering Jeff Francoeur arbitration. He figures to make 3-5MM, a figure that should look for familiar by now. If the Mets seriously think Jeff Francoeur is a better use of resources than a chance at first-round picks, they've lost it. He HAS to be non-tendered.
The Mets have the 6th worst record in the National League, which means they would be the 6th of the 30 teams to be given the opportunity to claim Murton. That is the advantage of being a terrible team. First a reality check about Francoeur: he's probably not any good. I've been rooting for the guy, but I doubt next year he'll really be worth he's arbitration price tag. Assuming their career numbers on offense (UZR has them even on defense), Murton's .345 wOBA is 18 runs better than Francoeur's .315 mark over 600 PA. That's 2 WAR. That's the difference between replacement level and average RF.
If the Mets want to be a cheap team, they need to start valuing players like one.