Murphy departing for free agency gives the Mets financial flexibility.
Imagine how the notoriously frugal owners of the Mets would have reacted if Murphy accepted? He made around $8 million last year, so his salary would have almost doubled had he accepted the qualifying offer.
The ownership triumvirate consisting of Fred and Jeff Wilpon along with Saul Katz continues to keep a payroll in the middle tier of the MLB. The Mets success last season is sure to bring increased revenue in the form of ticket sales, concessions, merchandise, parking, TV ratings, revenue from their blog network, etc. While it is anticipated that payroll will be up from last seasons opening day mark of $101 million, don’t expect a sudden jump into the top five. After arbitration, the Mets should have around $90 million committed to next season. If Murphy were to earn nearly $16 million next season, it would easily hinder the rest of the offseason plans.
It’s no secret that the Mets will need a veteran arm or two in the bullpen, another outfielder who can play center, and a possible upgrade in the middle of the infield, be it at shortstop or second base. The Mets farm system is rich in infield prospects (Dilson Herrera, Gavin Cecchini, Ahmed Roasrio, Matt Reynolds, etc.) which gives them several cost controllable options to fill the void left by Murphy. While the Mets are a win now team, their payroll constraints likely mean a younger player gets the chance to make a name for himself at second. We have seen that Wilmer Flores can at least adequately handle the position, but he also could see considerable time at short again next season. Murphy’s salary is no longer on the books, giving the Mets a little breathing room to address more pressing areas of need.