If you have been following the melodrama recently you know that the Mets are approaching a crossroads with their 2Bman Daniel Murphy. He has one more arbitration year coming (his current salary in $5.7 million) and then can be a free agent the following year.
He says he would like to remain in the only organization he has ever been in but it may be that his salary might exceed what the always-frugal Wilpon controlled team would be willing to spend. So trade talk has started to swirl while GM Sandy Alderson has hinted that an extension might be possible.
The other morning we were able to get a glimpse of the process via our spycam in Alderson's office. We'll pick up the transcript just as the GM has entered the office in the morning.
SA: Good morning, Robyn. How are you this lovely morning?
Robyn: I'm fine sir but I think you'll find that you have a lot on your plate right away today.
SA: I can see your switchboard is lit up like a Christmas tree. What do you have for me?
Robyn: I have Sam Levinson on line 1, the Blue Jays' GM Alex -and I can never get his last name right - on line 2, and on the third line is Brian Sabean. I believe he runs the Giants.
SA: OK, Sam is one of Daniel Murphy's agents. I should probably take him first. The name you are looking for is Anthopoulos. He's the Toronto guy and nobody usually gets his last name right. Keep him and Sabean on hold if you can and I'll get to them.
(Alderson heads to his inner office and picks up the phone)
SA: Sam, my man. Sam the Sham. "Sam I am". What can I do you for?
I'm just busting on you my friend. Let's talk about Daniel. You know we like the guy, have had him forever, and he's been a key guy for us for a couple of years. Despite his flaws we'd love to keep him here in Queens.
How about this for an extension: 3 yrs, $24 mill and we'll do it 7 in 2014, 8 in 2015, 9 in 2016. Run that by Dan and if he is amenable we'll write it right up.
Come on, Sam. Laughing is not called for. It's a serious offer. You know what it's like for me trying to squeeze bucks out of Fred, Saul, and that twit Jeff.
Let's just remember that even though Dan is a nice hitter and can fall out of bed and still hit .290 that he is not much of a defensive player, makes some bonehead moves on the base paths, hits for almost no power. You could say he hits an "empty .290." And what's more....
Robyn (on intercom): Mr. A can I remind you that we have that Alex guy and Mr. Sabean on hold here.
SA (on intercom): Oh, right. I'll talk to Alex first.
SA (on phone): Listen Sam, can you hold for a moment I've got two GM's on hold here who are just dying for me to trade them Murph. I'll be back with you ASAP.
SA(presses line 2 button): Alex. Good to hear from you. Let me guess. You want to talk about Daniel Murphy, our star 2bman. I must tell you that his agent and I are getting extremely close on an extension for the young man who we value ever so highly. But I owe you at least a discussion since we've worked so well in the past.
What do you mean we screwed you with Dickey? You were dying to get the guy. I can't help it that he cratered after being the Cy Young winner with us. And don't forget you told me that this d'Arnaud was gonna be the next Johnny Bench and he's more like Sitting On The Bench. We already sent him to Vegas this year. And Thor isn't progressing all that well either. So don't give me grief about that deal since it hasn't really panned out either way.
I agree. We'll put that one behind us. Now, as to Murph. Let's remember that he is one of the best 2bmen in the National League. Look at that batting average and his improving walks total.
How can you say it's an "empty .290"? That's absurd. He hits lots of doubles and is good for like a dozen dingers a year. He steals bases with great efficiency. Hell, he'd just be fantastic batting in front of Joey Bats.
What do I want for him? Hmmmm. Got any decent shortstops for me on the farm? Hell, I'd take that Jose guy that you have on the big team if you want to pay half his salary for us. No, just kidding, my friend. I know you have some good triple A and double A pitchers but cripes we got those coming out of our keister. If you got someone who can actually hit we could really use that. And hell, if they can't play short maybe we can put him there anyway. It almost worked with Flores. Sorry, just thinking out loud.
Robyn(on intercom): Mr. A?
SA (on intercom): Right Robyn. You better tell Sabean I'll get back to him later. Let him know I'm working with Sam and Alex so that he'll think we're close to something here. Maybe that'll free up a good offer from him. And tell him if he wants to get on my good side he'll have a shortstop for me.
SA (on phone): Sorry Alex. It's a madhouse here. Why don't you get your best offer prepared. Remember that we just love Murph and only would move him for a top price. Get me a kid who's cheap and can hit and we'll work something out. Talk to you later, bye.
SA (hits button): Oh, sorry to keep you waiting Sam. The Blue Jays are just all over Daniel. I hope he likes frigid weather. We really don't want to move him. The fans sure have taken to him and we can't say that about a lot of our players. But this is a business - don't have to remind you of that. Tell me what kind of extension you were looking for and don't forget the "hometown discount".
What???? 4 years, $48 million? You've got to be kidding me! You think that after paying David his bucks and Granderson we're going to have that kind of bread for a just-barely-above-average 2bman? You don't know my employers all that well.
I tell you what. You take our offer to Daniel. And I'll present yours to Jeff if I can ever find him in a good mood.
And then we'll talk again. Maybe there is some wiggle room between those numbers.
Otherwise - as they say, "it's on to Toronto Tonto pronto."
Talk to you later Sam. Bye.
SA (on intercom): Robyn, my coffee, now. I really need it.
You can follow Larry at Twitter at: https://twitter.com/@dr4sight