It could be an ideal scenario for both the White Sox and the Mets, actually.
First off, all of the pieces for the Mets are seemingly in place. They need to infuse some power into their lineup immediately and have already considered using Murphy as the centerpiece in a trade to make it happen, according to Kristie Ackert from the New York Daily News.
To give you an idea of how badly they need someone who can drive the ball in left field, consider that they ranked 22nd in MLB at the position last season with a .701 OPS, per ESPN.com. And if things stay the way they are, it will be worse this season. Eric Young Jr. is atop the depth chart, and he was a .645 OPS last year.
Now Viciedo would most certainly satisfy the power part of the trade equation as he’s hit 39 home runs and has driven in 134 runs over the past two seasons. He would easily become the best source of power in their outfield and give manager Terry Collins the bat he said he wants in the middle of the order, via CBSNewYork.com.
What the White Sox would be getting in Murphy—who had a 286/.319./415 slash line with 13 home runs, 23 stolen bases and 78 RBI in 2013—is three-fold. They would get a player who hit .302 in 113 games batting second, runs the bases very well and does not go through extended stretches where he forgets how to hit. Yes, he only drew 32 walks in 658 at-bats last season, but nonetheless, he is a significant upgrade at the position.
Bringing Murphy in may also be the catalyst Hahn uses to finally move Gordon Beckham. Don’t get me wrong, Beckham was not the problem this past season. He has been given ample time to prove that he is the long-term solution at second base, though, and has not shown up to the task.
Sure, expectations for him were high following his rookie season when he hit .270 with 14 home runs and 63 RBI. That does not alter the reality that a change of scenery could be very good for him. And look no further than the Toronto Blue Jays for a team that has already shown interest in the former first-round pick, per MLB.com.
Now with a hole in the outfield that the White Sox minor league system is not yet capable of filling, Hahn has options to replace Tank. He could leverage Alexei Ramirez, Hector Santiago and/or Addison Reed to find an outfielder who has good speed and plays defense at a higher level than Viciedo can.
As a stand-alone move, Viciedo for Murphy doesn’t make sense. They would end up having too many second basemen and not enough legitimate outfielders. As part of a larger movement, however, it would be a fantastic trade for the White Sox.
Unless otherwise noted, statistics courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com.