Colon was a useful pitcher in 2014 for the Mets for $9 million, although Baseball-Reference has him being only worth 0.5 WAR. However based on his miniscule walk rate (1.3 walks per 9 innings) and decent if not great strikeout rate (6.72 K/9) he was about a league average pitcher this year according to FanGraphs – at 2.1 WAR. That’s perfectly acceptable at a $9 million free agent. But the Mets want to free up some salary room, especially as Colon’s salary rises to $11 million in 2015. So if they can get decent salary relief in a trade with Colon while acquiring some promising piece, it’s worth a shot.
However, ESPN’s Adam Rubin suggests that he “wouldn’t be surprised” to see either Jon Niese or Dillon Gee be traded this offseason. Why the Mets would trade Niese is beyond me. The durable left-hander has had a very good, if not spectacular season, a bad 9-11 win-loss record, but a 3.40 ERA in 188 innings (with a 3.67 FIP to back it up!). He’s no ace but he’s a perfectly good back-end starter only due $7 million next season, and $9 million in 2016. For your #3 or #4 starter, that’s perfectly acceptable.
Dillon Gee, whoever, would be a good sell-high candidate. His 4.00 ERA in 22 starts seems perfectly acceptable for a mid-rotation starter, but his 4.52 FIP tells a different story. He made $3.6 million in 2014 and is due for an arbitration raise. There are plenty of teams looking for back-end rotation help, so if you get a decent youngster in return, he’s not a bad candidate to move while his results still look better than his actual performance would dictate. You don’t want to pay $5 million plus to a replacement level pitcher when you have some guy named Matt Harvey coming back and Jacob DeGrom and Zack Wheeler very much a part of this 2015 rotation.
Daniel Murphy continues to be one of the more under-the-radar players in baseball. He’s an All-Star caliber player that finally got his due in 2014. He’s not an amazing hitter or a great glove man, but he adds considerable value on the base-paths and is just a solid every-day player. But after earning $5.7 million in 2014 and being due a considerable raise in 2015 before becoming a free agent after the season, he does seem to be tempting trade bait. Considering how much of a dearth of second base talent is available, he could fetch a decent package in return. They may be better suited to waiting until the 2015 trade deadline, however. We shall see.
In any case, the Mets have some interesting players to watch and see if the Mets decide to retain them long-term or jettison them for salary relief, role players, minor leaguers or some combination of the three.