By Rich Coutinho
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The Mets have a bunch of items on their off-season shopping list: outfielders, a catcher, more punch in their lineup from the right side, and the reconstruction of their bullpen just to name a few things. The prevailing notion is that both the starting rotation and the infield will remain intact.
I believe it is far from a slam dunk that Daniel Murphy will be back here playing second base for a number of reasons. First of all, a .290 batting average with only 5 homers and 55 RBI’s do not constitute a core bat and Sandy Alderson will be looking to add some right-handed balance to his lineup in 2013. That being said, it would be hard for me to believe that both Lucas Duda AND Daniel Murphy would return next year. Add in the fact that of the rwo players, Murphy would have far more trade market value than Duda.
The other thing that would concern me about Murphy is his durability-or lack of it. I found it very disconcerting that he needed a rest in August because that was a signal he is just not an everyday player. It does not mean he dogs it or does not hustle–it just means he is not a guy you count on to play in 155 games next year. So, even if he is here, you will need to pair him with a right-handed bat to spell him against southpaws.
2012 has been a year where the Mets have found out that players like Ruben Tejada, Matt Harvey, Josh Edgin, and Ike Davis will be part of a group that will be on the 2013 roster. They have also found out that guys like Josh Thole are not everyday players and you wonder what the Met brass thinks of Daniel Murphy.
My feeling is Murphy can be a complimentary piece in this lineup but not a core bat. Only David Wright and Ike Davis could be described that way. This means the Mets need to find 2 more hitters in this lineup–one a power hitter and the other a speedy guy who preferably has power as well. Honestly, Murphy does not fit into either category.
I must admit it hurts me to talk this way about Murphy because I think he is a max-effort guy that has had some good moments here and he has improved defensively because he has worked so hard. But if this offense is to improve come 2013, they need better players in this lineup and packaging Murphy with a prospect or 2 not named Wheeler or Harvey, may bring back one of those sticks the Mets so desperately need.
It might be too tempting a deal for Sandy Alderson to pass up and one that ultimately will help the Mets move up in the NL East standings next year.
Mets fans — Do you think Murphy will return in 2013?