Some facts about the Mets' Daniel Murphy:
- He was hitting .268/.315/.342 on June 27.
- He's hitting .436/.444/.756 since June 27 covering 21 games.
- He has a .463 Batting Average on Balls In Play and two walks — one intentional — during that stretch.
- He'll be eligible for arbitration after this season.
The Mets may already be shopping Murphy, and one source says they rejected an offer from the Padres for reliever Luke Gregerson, who is 28 and quite good, but will make plenty of dough in arbitration the next two seasons before hitting free agency after 2014.
With a lot of effort, Murphy has managed to refine his fielding to the point where he's now merely a bad defensive second baseman, a notable improvement over the historically inept defender he was just a year or two ago, but still quite bad by nearly any subjective or objective measure. Offensively, he draws about two walks every three weeks, which means he's relying disproportionately on hits — and therefore opposing defenses and other adventitious circumstances — to reach base. He's a doubles machine, but he doesn't really hit for power otherwise.
In short, he's a serviceable second basemen, and re #4 above, he's going to start getting expensive as soon as 2013. Serviceability is not to be scoffed at necessarily; any decent roster needs some decent-but-unspectacular players, but unless you're the Yankees or the Angels, you hope to only be paying in the neighborhood of the league minimum salary for those spots. Contrarily, Murphy will make a couple million through arbitration in 2013, and he'll make a couple million more than that in 2014 and maybe $5-6 million in 2015.
The Giants, Orioles, White Sox, and Athletics could use immediate help at second base, and Daniel Murphy could be very attractive to one or more of them. Especially given the way he has hit over the past month, this is a quintessential sell-high opportunity for the Mets to get maximum value for a player who isn't making their 2012 team appreciably better, particularly as they teeter at the outskirts of postseason plausibility.