Can The Mets Survive Daniel Murphy and Jordany Valdespin’s Defense?

By the time you read this, the Mets will be taking on the Washington Nationals on getaway day (6/7). For me, the Mets can’t get away quick enough. This dispiriting series has been filled with mopey, dopey play and hard-fought comebacks in spite of themselves. This set in DC has reminded me of nothing less than the entire month of September, 2007. You probably remember. That was when the Mets had the division all but locked up. The magic number was whittled down to five. They were seven games up on the Phillies, with seventeen to play. The Mets would have none of it. They did all they could to hand the crown to anyone who would take it. The magic number got no smaller. In fact, Nationals Park was the setting for more than a few of the highjinks that blighted month. It was a series filled with boneheadedness: outfielders throwing to the wrong base, a third baseman making a throw when he had a force right in front of him, inopportune wild pitches and hit batsmen, walked pitchers.

Sound familiar?

Perhaps Jordany Valdespin can be forgiven for his two gaffes on Tuesday night . Shortstop is not his natural position. He’s been working on it in the minors, but he has not ever been what you’d call “smooth” over there. Perhaps. Daniel Murphy continues to be a work-in-progress at second. That’ll probably be what they carve on his tombstone. We’ve been hearing about his being a “work-in-progress” for three years. Yes, I know he’s battled back from some major, major injuries. Yes, I know his natural position is third base and by now, he’s really a DH. Yes, I know his bat is too valuable to not have him in the lineup. At some point, the “work-in-progress” has to show some actual…y’know…progress. Murph continues to be in the wrong place, lift his glove too soon and scale baseballs off his knee into right field. I love him as a player, but watching him afield the last couple of days has made my ears bleed. My wife is getting tired of me moaning “Come on! Catch the damn ball, Murph!” at the TV.

If the Mets are to go anywhere this year – still a giddy prospect, even at this late date – they need better defense in the middle of the infield. How’s that for the understatement of the year? There were many complaints about the bullpen on Tuesday night, and well-deserved. But the ‘pen would have looked a lot healthier if Valdespin and Murphy could have turned a key double-play or simply hung onto a grounder.

Oh, and by the way…The starting DP combo this afternoon? Valdespin and Murphy. Something’s gotta give.

Follow me on Twitter @CharlieHangley

3 comments for “Can The Mets Survive Daniel Murphy and Jordany Valdespin’s Defense?

  1. Metsense
    June 7, 2012 at 4:14 pm

    Only the fans remember 2007 because even David Wright, the only surviving Met of that collapse, has turned the page and began to enjoy playing with this enthusiastic, don’t quit group.
    Hopefully Tejada gets well soon and Valdespin goes back to AAA to work on his defense. If he puts in the same effort Murphy has put in maybe he can wrestle 2B from him in 2013. Cedeno will heal and hopefully TC will use him as a defensive replacement for Murphy as he did with Duda today in RF. If anything, 2012 is an “un-collapse” because nobody expected them to be where they are 1/3 of the season in.

  2. Chris
    June 8, 2012 at 10:21 am

    I like to think of the 2 separately. Murph’s game seems to be effected by things around him more…he’s made some simply awesome defensive plays (much like Tejada last year, which never got noticed with Reyes around—but everyone saw the miscues) and like the other day, he still has the capacity to be crap. Even Collins said (before the Nationals disaster) that Murph is no longer an experiment. Valdespin + Murph combo is a turd, but the Tejada + Murph combo has been pretty good. Murph’s defense seems to rise and sink with the infield play around him. I mean really, lets evaluate Murph’s D in October, until then, I think we can win (and have done so). Valdespin is a different matter. Hes not a big league SS. We dont need to have a long term worry about his play there, because he’s only getting time given how desperate things are at short. Could we be happy with RT+DM? sure. RC+DM? sure. JT+DM? sure. Past that, its lucky we can even be in ball games.

    If you ask me, the question is can we win with the 4-5 starters, and the pen from hell? Oh yeah, and Ike staying on the interstate forever.

  3. June 8, 2012 at 2:15 pm

    There’s no good way to talk around Murphy’s poor overall performance in the first two games. But I’ve also seen him make several solid – and beyond – plays this year as their starting second baseman. Stats for some reason like to portray him as an awesomely bad infielder, but as someone else put it, my eyes tell me he looks fine. Hopefully it was just a few bad games and they’re out of his system.

    Valdespin, on the other hand, cannot go away fast enough. The kid is clearly not ready for the majors, playing out of position and has an inflated head. I’d be fine with him on the 25-man roster if we were completely healthy and he was a MI bench player, or if the team was well under .500. But the Mets are in the division hunt and Jordanny just isn’t in a position to help the team. If Tejada, Turner and Cedeno aren’t going to be ready for a while, they really need to find a veteran FA shortstop to help Quintanilla.

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