When the hot weather arrives, so does the Major league Baseball hot stove. While most years host more rumors than trades, there is a very strong possibility of seeing a few well-known names moved this summer, and as usual the New York Yankees are likely to be buyers. At the top of most teams wish lists is David Price. The former Cy Young winner is playing on the worst team in baseball in the Tampa Bay Rays, and is almost a sure bet to be moved. However, there are several cheaper, but still valuable, players on the trade menu, such as Daniel Murphy of the New York Mets. That is where the Yankees should be looking.
Murphy has become a hot item of late, with rumors drifting out of Toronto, Oakland, and San Francisco, all top teams who have middle infield weaknesses. While the Yankees may be content with playing Brian Roberts at second base, Murphy is without a doubt a better player right now. He is also a former third baseman who could potentially step in to reduce the Bombers’ reliance on utility man Yangervis Solarte, who is falling down to Earth like a meteor after his great start. Murphy is one of the most reliably healthy players in baseball. He is also in the midst of his best year yet, and could find himself playing in the All-Star game, making this an opportune time for the Mets to move him if they were inclined to capitalize on his success.
The trouble for the Yankees, or any other team who might be looking to acquire Murphy, is that in spite of the fact that he is far from a superstar player, he could still fetch a decent return. Murphy is not a free agent until after next season, which means that any team that trades for him would have a year and a half of reasonably priced production, potentially at any of several different positions. That means the Mets do not have to trade him, nor should they be in a hurry to do so. He is not blocking any hotshot prospects, but the fact that his name is coming up in rumors shows that they are at least listening.
The other issue of value for the Yankees is that while Murphy is a lefty, he does his best hitting to the opposite field. They should not expect him to come in and take advantage of the short left field porch the same way Robinson Cano used to. In spite of that he would have an immediate impact on the team’s offense. Murphy would also represent some dependability on a team who has seen every starting position player hit the disabled list sometime in the past three seasons, except for the faltering rookie Solarte.
Murphy is probably more in line with the type of player the Yankees will be looking to acquire this trade deadline. Be it a position player or pitcher, the Yankees will be shopping for someone who is mid-tier and relatively cheap. While it is certain they will discuss Price or Cliff Lee, it probably would not be prudent of the team to add a third enormous starting pitcher contract, particularly with the way CC Sabathia’s is beginning to look. Murphy would be a great target for the Yankees, but it still may be awhile before the team makes any significant moves.
Commentary by Brian Moore