New York Mets: Two Possible Trade Destinations for Daniel Murphy

Yahoo Contributor Network

COMMENTARY | Daniel Murphy was the most dependable player on the New York Mets in 2013, yet the organization is entertaining the idea of trading him away from Flushing.

The second baseman led the team by appearing in 161 games. With the rash of injuries and roster turnover that happened throughout the year, Terry Collins inserted Murphy in multiple lineup spots.

He hit .286/.319/.415 with 13 home runs and 78 RBIs -- both career highs. Murphy drew only 32 walks, but was second in the National League with 188 hits.

Adam Rubin of ESPN New York reported on November 11 that the Mets will listen to offers for their second baseman, but they're not committed to trading him away.

The Toronto Blue Jays and Kansas City Royals should be calling the Mets about Murphy, and Sandy Alderson should listen closely.

Toronto Blue Jays

After their disappointing 2013 campaign, the Blue Jays are looking to retool their roster. Jon Heyman of CBS Sports noted Toronto's first priority is to upgrade its starting rotation. Its other sources of need are second base and catcher.

In exchange for these needs, the Jays are open to parting with either outfielder Jose Bautista or first baseman Edwin Encarnacion. They both play positions where the Mets need an upgrade.

Bautista has dealt with injuries the last two years, but acquiring him would automatically improve New York's outfield. Even with his shortened seasons, he's hit 20 or more home runs in four consecutive years.

He's entering his age-33 season, but is only under contract through 2015. Bautista is due to earn an average annual salary of $14 million. If he can stay healthy, that's a bargain for the kind of power and protection in the lineup he could provide.

Encarnacion finally put it all together for Toronto in 2012, hitting 42 home runs and collecting 110 RBIs to go with a .280 batting average. He followed that season up with a .272/.370/.534 line, along with 36 home runs and 104 RBIs in 2013.

The first baseman is entering his age-31 season. Like Bautista, he has two guaranteed years left on his contract (outside of a 2016 option), but is at even more of a bargain. He'll earn $9 million in 2014 and $10 million in 2015.

Swapping either one of these players with a package including Murphy would fill needs for both teams and allow the Jays to clear some payroll.

Kansas City Royals

While Murphy is primarily a second baseman, he holds value as a "super utility" type player. His natural position is third base, and he also has big league experience at first base. American League teams could get a lot of use out of Murphy's versatility, including as a designated hitter.

In Kansas City, Emilio Bonifacio currently resides on the top of the Royals' depth chart. The team could also make designated hitter Billy Butler available via trade, possibly creating another hole.

Similar to Toronto, the Royals are also in need of some starting pitching, especially if free agents Bruce Chen and Ervin Santana sign elsewhere. The Mets could use Murphy as the centerpiece of a package including young starting pitching to make a play for Alex Gordon.

The 29-year-old corner outfielder hit .265/.327/.422 with 20 home runs and 81 RBIs in 156 games played in 2013. He's under contract through 2015, including a team option for '16. He's due to earn $10 million next season and $12.5 million in 2014.

Add his solid offense and affordable contract with his three straight Gold Glove Awards, and he's someone the Mets should be trying to acquire. That will depend on whether or not Royals GM Dayton Moore is willing to part with him.

Conclusion

It's tough to see the Mets shop Daniel Murphy around. He was one of the most consistent players in Flushing last year.

However, in order to get the position player(s) they're in search of, teams will want some big league talent in return.

Dealing Murphy would theoretically put a hole at second base for the Mets. If Alderson is comfortable with Eric Young, Jr. as the team's leadoff man, he can be shifted from the outfield back to his natural position of second base.

The Mets have multiple holes to fill for 2014. In order to fill as many as possible, they'll have to get creative. Using Murph strategically in a potential deal could help New York get its overall lineup to a point where it can compete for a playoff spot.

Sources:

ESPN New York - report on Mets listening to offers for Murphy

CBS Sports - report on offseason needs for Blue Jays

Royals.com - Kansas City's depth chart

Matt Musico's Mets opinion has been featured on MLB Trade Rumors, Bleacher Report, MetsBlog, Amazin' Avenue, Mets Merized Online and Rising Apple. You can follow him on Twitter: @mmusico8.

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