DC Sports Day

The Nats Sign Daniel Murphy

09/23/15 Atlanta Braves  vs  N.Y.Mets  at  Citifield  Queens  N.Y.  New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy #28  hits a solo homer in the 1st innning   photos  by sportsdaywire

(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)

It was Christmas eve and all through DC….whispers of the signing of a 2B could be seen.

Rumors had been rampant for weeks that a signing of a second baseman was imminent. Daniel Murphy’s name was mentioned among Ben Zobrist, Brandon Phillips, and Howie Kendrick. By Christmas eve, Zobrist had signed with the Cubs, and Phillips and Kendrick seemed out of reach. It was Murphy, who had received a one-year, more than 15.7 million dollar, QO by the Mets, then signed a three-year deal ($37.5 million for three years, according to the Washington Post) with the Nats. Washington had to give up their first round selection in next year’s amateur draft as part of signing Murphy.

A left-handed hitting second baseman, who can also play on the left side of the infield, Murphy has very good offensive numbers. The Florida native reportedly wanted to stay with the Mets, who drafted him in the 13th round of the 2006 amateur draft and made him a line-up regular for seven seasons starting in 2008.

It was the 2015 post-season series and then the World Series that made Murphy a household name. First, Murphy hit a home run in six post-season games, which set an MLB record. Then he went completely cold in the World Series, batting a little over .150 during the five game series. But, it was his defensive lapses that really caught the attention of fans all over the world. In game four of the World Series with the Kansas City Royals, the Mets were up 3-2 in the eighth inning, when Eric Hosmer hit a routine grounder to Murphy at second. Murphy’s misplay of the ball allowed Zobrist to scoot home with the tying run.

Basically, that was the end of the series for New York, who could have tied up the Series and sent it back to KC, but instead gave up three runs that inning, losing that game and the next to the Royals.

Which brings up the big shortcoming of Murphy–his fielding. As much as Murphy has been a consistent performer with his bat during the regular season, he is also a defensive adventure. The World Series was not his first gaffe at second base–stats show that he is one of the worst defensive regulars in the majors. But great fielding was not what Washington was looking for. The team instead was seeking a very good left-handed bat with some power. Murphy is definitely that. Now lets see what other moves the Nats make to strengthen their infield; an excellent defensive utility infielder bat is probably the next to be signed.