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Yankees potential trade target: Daniel Murphy

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The Mets' 2014 All-Star second baseman is approaching free agency, so could the Yankees pursue a trade with their crosstown rivals?

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

The second base position has essentially been a wasteland for the Yankees since Robinson Cano's departure following the 2013 campaign. Brian Roberts was a nightmare to watch last season until he was designated for assignment at the end of July, and though younger, Stephen Drew has somehow been even worse for just about a calendar year. The Yankees seem hesitant to turn the position over to 24-year-old Rob Refsnyder, so it's hardly a surprise to see them checking out the trade market at second once again. It seems like most writers have discussed Ben Zobrist and Brandon Phillips, but perhaps the answer has been in front of the Yankees this whole time, just across town: Daniel Murphy.

A 13th round draft pick in 2006 out of Jacksonville University, Murphy defied expectations by quickly rising to the majors and becoming a pretty darn good bat in the Mets' lineup almost immediately. During his seven-year career in Queens, Murphy has hit .288/.332/.417 with 207 doubles, 53 homers, and a 107 wRC+. It took him a little while to find a defensive home, but after playing mostly left field and first base during his first three seasons, he settled into the second base job in 2012 and hasn't looked back. Like Refsnyder though, he's endured a number of questions about his ability to play the position, with the best compliment appearing to be that he was "not awful" last year--a clearly ebullient review, to say the least.

In that aforementioned 2014 season though, Murphy hit an impressive .294/.342/.413 with 31 extra base hits and a 114 OPS+ in the first half, subsequently earning him honors as the Mets' lone All-Star Game representative in Minnesota. Although his production tailed off a little bit in the second half, it was still a roughly league average performance, and there were some whispers that Murphy would be traded in the off-season with free agency beckoning at the end of 2015. However, GM Sandy Alderson decided to hang on to Murphy, and the results have not exactly been remarkable.

Murphy struggled with hamstring tightness during spring training that might have later affected his early season performance, which was quite sluggish. Then, he landed on the 15-day DL at the beginning of June with a strained left quad that caused him to miss the rest of the month, and he's split time between second and third to accommodate Wilmer Flores. Overall, the 2015 numbers have actually been steady--he's batting .268/.325/.389 with 16 doubles and five homers in 69 games, good for a 96 wRC+ that really isn't terribly far off from his career norms. He has overcame a miserable .198/.258/.346 April that was fueled by a .189 BABIP to hit a much more typical .298/.352/.409 since then. That kind of production would be useful in any lineup. Hell, his awful April was roughly equivalent to Drew's entire season. Plus, he's tidy too!

It's kind of surprising that there haven't been more articles written about how Murphy could help the Yankees' lineup. He is a line drive hitter with a nice lefty swing that probably could drive a few more homers out of Yankee Stadium than Citi Field, and he fills a position of need.

The Yankees and Mets do not often partake in trades with each other, but this is an instance where the two teams could match up. Although the Mets are in contention at just three games back of the Nationals, they have strong enough pitching that they could still potentially contend without Murphy if Alderson felt that he was receiving an acceptable return. Even if the Yankees decide they don't want to start him at second, he has still proved himself to be a useful utility player who can take the field in a number of different positions. Since Murphy is not going to cost one of the Yankees' top prospects, Brian Cashman should at least be engaged in some discussions with Alderson about Murphy. I don't expect any kind of trade like this to happen, but the possibility should certainly be explored.