In a season in which hopeful optimism was crushed with injuries to David Wright, and more regrettably Matt Harvey(not to mention the injuries to Jeremy Hefner, Jenrry Mejia and Bobby Parnell), the one player who has stood tall amidst all this turbulence has been Daniel Murphy.
While Murphy has his flaws, his durability (think about saying that two years ago!), dependability and flexibility (he sure does have a lot of –lity’s BTW), have been the one constant for the Mets this year. For the year, Murphy is sporting a solid .283/.314/.407 slash line (prior to Friday night’s game) to go with 10 HR’s and 67 RBI’s.
Murphy is now riding a 10-game hitting streak and is basically the only Met batter left standing since Opening Day (not counting Lucas Duda, who was hurt, sent down to Las Vegas and is now back with the club). When you break it down, every other member of the lineup either got hurt, was not producing and had to be demoted at some point, or traded.
Murphy is far and away the team leader in games played (138) and at-bats with 567 (prior to Friday night’s game). The recently traded-away Marlon Byrd comes in second in games played (117) and at-bats for the Mets with 425. David Wright is third with 408 at-bats.
In a season marred by false hopes, critical injuries and one that will ultimately end with another losing season, at least Murphy has been a beacon of hope.
Sure, as Brian Joura succinctly points out here, Murphy is simply not walking enough anymore and is not really taking selective swings at the plate, but he still is the one constant the Mets can rely on day in and day out.
The kicker is, for all his reliability and dependability, Murphy may be looking at his last month with the Mets. You see, he is rapidly becoming a valuable trade asset and some team this winter may offer a nice package to the Mets. Since the Mets need help at a lot of positions (OF, SS and perhaps 1B), dealing from an area of strength makes a lot of sense.
If the Mets move Murphy, they could conceivably put either Wilmer Flores or Eric Young Jr. at second. Since second base is a position of strength for the Mets, it may be best to sell on Murphy while his value is at his highest.
I’ll say it. I’m an unabashed fan of Murphy and love his approach and love for the game. Hey, maybe it’s the Irish genes in me. Hey, after all I do own a green Irish-style Murphy shirt. It’s not just me though, as Murphy does have his fair share of fans.
However, if the Mets want to do what’s best for the team, either Murphy or Flores have to be traded in the offseason. Both likely can’t fit in with the same club, especially with Wright expected to man the hot corner until he retires. It’s a conundrum in much the same way as having Ike Davis and Lucas Duda on the roster. Sooner or later you have to choose the one who will get you the most value back on the trade market.
So, I salute you Daniel Murphy, you are a joy to watch and if this is your last month, well it’s been a pleasure having you suit up for the Mets.