Daniel Murphy, Fernando Martinez taking some lumps down in winter ball

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Of course, I guess that depends on what you consider to be a “prospect.”

Daniel Murphy is experiencing leg fatigue down in the Dominican Winter League and he won’t return to the lineup until Tuesday, taking five days off.  He’s actually hitting pretty darn well down there and playing second base regularly, so I’m not sure I’d be too worried about this.

Fernando Martinez, however, is worse off: he has a knee injury and may not play any more this winter.

I’d think that Murphy’s progress is more important for the Mets, because there’s a chance that he could start the season as the team’s second baseman. Martinez was unlikely to be a major contributor next season, and every time we hear something new about him his status as a promising prospect seems to take another blow.

Mike Napoli and Rays have “mutual interest” in a deal

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Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times unloaded a lot of interesting news items about the Rays last night, including a report that the Rays might have “mutual interest” in a deal with free agent first baseman/DH Mike Napoli. The Rangers declined Napoli’s $11 million option earlier this month and owe the veteran infielder a $2.5 million buyout.

Napoli, 36, had a strange year in Texas. He turned in 29 home runs, good for 11th-most among AL hitters, but finished the year batting just .193/.285/.428 over 485 plate appearances. According to FanGraphs, his -0.5 fWAR was the worst mark of his career to date, but on the bright side, he should come cheap for a team looking to swap out their veterans come spring.

Of course, the specifics of the Rays’ offseason plan have yet to be divulged — or, by all accounts from Topkin, even decided on. The club could go the refurbishment route, changing out some of their higher-paid veterans for a mix of prospects and cheaper aging players; or they could opt for a full rebuild, which Topkin cautions against as it could have a negative effect on the financing of a new ballpark. Either way, the Rays figure to offload some of their bigger contracts this winter, and will need to decide if they want to retain Alex Colome, Chris Archer, Wilson Ramos, Evan Longoria and others before pursuing any other major free agents.