While most of the Daniel Murphy offseason news has centered around how the Mets are going to replace their postseason hero, it now seems that the Mets may still consider bringing him back for 2016 and beyond.
Murphy rejected the Mets' qualifying offer on November 13 and it seemed that both he and the Mets were ready to part ways after seven years. The Mets probably won't be able to outbid all other suitors in either years or dollars, but they could keep their fingers crossed that Murphy would prefer to return to the Mets, the only organization he's every played for.
The Mets are also interested in free agent Ben Zobrist, who at 34 is four years older than Murphy. Both players could command a deal in the range of $10-15 million a year for three or four years. Whether the Mets prefer Zobrist to Murphy remains to be seen.
After a regular season in which Murphy batted .281/.322/.449 with a career-high 14 home runs, the lefty famously exploded in the postseason, belting seven home runs in the team's first nine games on his way to capturing the NLCS MVP award. After a slow start that saw his average hovering around .220 in early May, Murphy rebounded to have his typical season, helped by a .296/.321/.533 batting line from August through the end of the season.
Murphy made $8 million in 2015, so an increase to an average salary of $10-$12 million wouldn't be a significant raise. The Mets will receive a draft pick between the first and second rounds in June if Murphy signs elsewhere, so that could factor into the Mets' decision as well.