Last week, it was announced that this year's qualifying offer for free agents will be set at $15.8 million. Since the QO was instituted three seasons ago, no player has accepted that offer. Instead, they have chosen to look for a multi-year contract, and shunned the one-year safety net.
One of the players eligible for a QO this winter is Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy. The 30-year-old is hitting the market after a productive 2015 season. In 538 plate appearances, Murphy hit .281/.322/.449 with 14 home runs. The 2.5 fWAR from this season gives him a 12.2 fWAR since the start of the 2011 season.
Murphy figures to be in line for a nice payday, as he's a top 10 offensive 2nd baseman, and one of the few above average options on the market. Joel Sherman of the New York Post notes that Murphy could be in line for a three-year deal in the range of $30-40 million. His shaky defense could force him to an AL team where he could get some at-bats at DH.
This puts the Mets in a rather interesting spot. With Dilson Herrera and Wilmer Flores in the fold to play second base, the Mets aren't in need of Murphy and could use his salary to fix holes elsewhere. But, offering Murphy a QO would earn the Mets draft-pick compensation if he went to another team. It's a $15.8 million risk the Mets have to decide on.
With the payroll constraints the Mets have had the past few seasons, every dollar is going to count for them. If they want, or plan to re-sign Yoenis Cespedes, they are going to need every penny to make that happen. Unfortunately, that could mean that the Mets decide against offering Murphy a QO, on the off-chance that he would take it.
Murphy will turn 31 in April and this will probably be his last shot at a multi-year deal, so the risk may be minimized. If Murphy did accept the offer, making him the first player to do so, the Mets could also trade him during the spring, as teams could be interested in acquiring him, especially for one year.