The Mets extended a $15.8 million qualifying offer to free agent Daniel Murphy today, though that doesn’t mean he is any more likely to return to the team in 2016. Rather, it was about making sure the Mets get an extra draft pick between the first and second rounds of next year’s amateur free agent draft. But it’s a good move, nonetheless. Before the playoff run, I was concerned that Sandy Alderson might let Murphy leave for no return.
In total, 20 free agents received qualifying offers this year. Of potential interest to the Mets, outfielder Denard Span did not. While Span only appeared in 61 games this season due to multiple injuries, he is a contact hitter with speed and some power who plays above average defense. One other drawback: Span hired Scott Boras as his agent in September.
Three more Mets players are officially free agents today. The team removed catcher Anthony Recker, infielder Wilfredo Tovar and outfielder Eric Young Jr. from the 40-man roster. I guess this doesn’t bode well for the chances of Recker getting an official Topps baseball card showing him in a Mets uniform, but none of the three players really factor into the plans for 2016. The Mets will need a reserve catcher at Triple-A in case Travis d’Arnaud or Kevin Plawecki end up on the disabled list at some point next season, but there will be any number of minor league free agents who can do that.
Mets outfielders Curtis Granderson and Michael Cuddyer had surgeries this week. Granderson’s was to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb, which makes his playoff performance all the more remarkable. Cuddyer had a core muscle injury repaired. While he’s on track to be the biggest free agent bust of the Alderson era, Cuddyer could at least provide some value as a bench player next season… a $12.5 million bench player.
Mets outfielder Juan Lagares will not be having surgery to repair a partial ligament tear in his right elbow. I’m not a medical professional, but anyone who watched Lagares in 2014 and 2015 could tell that the rest and rehab regimen he tried didn’t work out all that well. The $23 million contract that Alderson gave Lagares this spring is not looking like one of his wiser moves, either.
We do have one new Met to recognize this week. Left-handed reliever Josh Smoker was added to the 40-man roster to prevent him from becoming a minor league free agent. A former first-round draft pick, Smoker was pitching in indy ball when the Mets signed him. And that’s pretty much the extent of my knowledge about Smoker… but isn’t that a great name for a pitcher?
“Paid patriotism” is a depressing subject to talk about as we approach Veterans Day, but that’s where we are. Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake put the spotlight on the Department of Defense’s practice of paying millions to professional sports teams for seemingly spontaneous gestures in support of the military. The Mets received $51,000, including $10,000 to allow the U.S. Air Force to conduct an on-field swearing in ceremony.
I’d like to see the Mets (and other teams) apologize for misleading the public and donate the money that they received to a veterans charity. I’d also like them to pledge not to accept any compensation for any patriotic demonstrations held in the future. And I’d like to see 100 percent of the proceeds (not the “profits”) from the sale of any military-themed uniforms, Memorial Day caps, etc. go to a veterans charity.
I know… there’s a better chance I’ll be watching Murphy and Cespedes play for the Mets next April.