The Mets extended infielder Daniel Murphy a one-year, $15.8-million qualifying offer before Friday's 5 p.m. deadline.
Murphy has one week to accept or reject the offer. Since the advent of qualifying offers before the 2013 season, however, no player has accepted one. If he rejects the offer in favor of a multiyear deal from another team, as he's likely to do, the Mets will receive a supplemental-round draft pick. On the open market, he is expected to command a deal in the range of four years and $50 million.
On the off chance Murphy accepts the qualifying offer, the Mets would benefit. They would bring back his productive bat but without the risk of a long-term deal.
An All-Star in 2013, Murphy, 30, is a .288 hitter in seven big-league seasons. He was chosen in the 13th round of the 2006 draft, making him one of the longest-tenured Mets.
Murphy hit .281 and set a career high with 14 homers in 2015. His .449 slugging percentage -- his highest ever for a full season -- was bolstered by a second-half power surge that resulted from mechanical changes he made to his swing. That power bump showed up in a big way as he homered in an MLB-record six straight playoff games, a binge that only increased his value in free agency.
Murphy has played primarily at second base, where he's limited by his subpar range. He also has played third base and first base, where his range issues are somewhat negated.
Murphy's versatility is one of his top selling points. American League clubs also have the option of using him as a DH, which would mask his defensive shortcomings altogether.
Prospect Dilson Herrera, 21, is expected to replace Murphy at second base. This week, general manager Sandy Alderson called Herrera a "viable alternative" to man the position.
Herrera made big-league cameos in each of the past two years, hitting .215 in 49 games. He spent the bulk of this season with Triple-A Las Vegas, hitting .327 with 11 homers.
Herrera was acquired in 2013 in a trade that sent John Buck and Marlon Byrd to the Pirates.
If Herrera is not ready to take over at second, Kelly Johnson could see action there as a bridge. Johnson, 33, is a free agent whom the Mets have interest in retaining. They're attracted by his defensive versatility and lefthanded bat off the bench, one of their needs heading into the offseason.
Johnson hit .250 in 49 games with the Mets after his July trade from the Braves. He started at least one game at second, third, first, leftfield, rightfield and shortstop. Like Murphy in 2015, Johnson would function as an insurance policy for third baseman David Wright, who must manage spinal stenosis.
Murphy has been open to an extension all season, even declaring his willingness to discuss a new contract in the middle of the year. But the two sides never talked.
The Mets have little interestin a long-term deal with Murphy, partly because of concerns that age will further erode his already limited range on defense.
Baseball's free-agency period began at 12:01 a.m. Saturday. Free agents are allowed to negotiate with other teams.
Cuddyer has surgery. Michael Cuddyer had surgery Thursday to repair a core muscle injury, the Mets announced Saturday.
The procedure was performed at Vincera Institute in Philadelphia.
It's unclear how long he has dealt with the injury. He missed time earlier in the season with a knee problem.
Cuddyer endured a forgettable first season with the Mets after signing a two-year, $21-million deal a year ago that cost them a first-round draft pick.
Cuddyer, 36, hit .259 with 10 home runs and 41 RBIs. He began the season as the starting leftfielder but took a backseat as part of a platoon with prospect Michael Conforto.
Conforto is expected to take on full-time duties in leftfield in 2016, leaving Cuddyer in a bench role. He could be a platoon partner for Lucas Duda at first and could spell Conforto or Curtis Granderson against some lefthanded pitchers.
The Mets also announced that catcher Anthony Recker, infielder Wilfredo Tovar and outfielder Eric Young Jr. have elected free agency.