Nothing has haunted Mets fans more over the last 2 seasons than watching their former 2nd basemen Daniel Murphy flourish in Washington DC for the division rival Nationals. Murphy has been arguably the hottest hitter in baseball since the fall of 2015, when he went on a massive tear for the Mets in the postseason, hitting 6 home runs in 6 straight games, leading the team to a National League pennant.
But, the trade of Jay Bruce should remind fans of why the Mets didn’t resign Murphy. During the 2015 offseason, the Mets had to figure out how to retain Yoenis Cespedes, who led the Mets offense when he was acquired late in July. It was clear the Mets needed him back if they wanted to have any shot at being contenders in 2016, as he makes their lineup so much better. But, a free agent who was kind of forgotten was Daniel Murphy, who obviously was asking for more money than he probably planned because of his great postseason. The Mets gave him a qualifying offer that he rejected, and he then signed with the Nationals on a 3 year/$37.5 million dollar deal. He most likely had interest in returning to the Mets, but you could always tell the team was not a fan of Daniel Murphy.
Whether he had views the team did not agree with, or that he made mistakes on the bases and in the field, the reality is the Mets did not resign a guy who now is a top 5 hitter in the National League. So, what does this have to do with Jay Bruce?
In 2016, the Mets again were in search of a bat towards the trade deadline. Had they kept Daniel Murphy, even though he may not have put up the monster numbers he was for the Nationals, he still would’ve been a big help to the offense. So, in late July the Mets acquired Jay Bruce from the Reds to help solidify their lineup, and the Mets gave up a guy that many Mets fans are familiar with by the name of Dilson Herrera. Herrera was supposed to be the Mets future 2nd basemen, and was a big part as to why the team did not resign Daniel Murphy. The feeling was why give Daniel Murphy $10 million plus a year, when they could play Herrera, who is younger, and obviously cheaper. But, they traded Herrera for Bruce, so what does that tell fans the Mets think of him? They had a solid player in Daniel Murphy who now has turned into a great player, and they didn’t even have an alternative to losing him. It was clear Jay Bruce would not be here long term, but that shows the Mets messed up even more. None of this mess would have ever been discussed had the team resigned Daniel Murphy.
So, to sum it up, the Mets essentially traded a guy they were so high on in Dilson Herrera for Ryder Ryan (whom they acquired from the Indians for Bruce), who currently has a 4.79 ERA in the minor leagues. Something’s not right here. It’s nothing against Ryan, but this all is relevant in the discussion of the Mets not signing Daniel Murphy, as Herrera was supposed to be his replacement. No Murphy, Herrera, or Bruce, but they have Ryder Ryan. The Mets lost 2 really solid MLB players, and a prospect they were confident would have a bright future for a minor league pitcher. If you really think about it, Daniel Murphy signing with the Nationals had a lot to do with the Mets trading for Jay Bruce. Well, now neither are Mets. But, it’s alright because the Mets are saving money, and Daniel Murphy continues to shine.