Daniel Murphy’s bat will be missed

imageThe season has finally begun, and the teams are off to compete for a playoff position. Of course it is early to analyze players based on a one game performance, so instead, we can have a discussion about a theme that may be going on throughout the season.

It did not mean much to see Daniel Murphy wearing a different uniform at a press conference announcing that he signed with a division rival, nor did it mean much to see him in Spring Training playing for the other team. It all made sense after yesterday’s performance with the Washington Nationals, where Murphy played a crucial part in picking up the victory. Murphy went 2-3 with a home run, two walks, and a double that scored the go-ahead run late in the game. It seems as if he had his October swing locked in and ready to go against the Atlanta Braves.

Now it is just a one game sample size, as we know what to expect from Murphy. He is going to provide some offense with some lapses in defense and base running. Athletes are human too, as Yoenis Cespedes pointed out after making an error in the first inning against the Kansas City Royals. There would be times where it was incredibly frustrating to watch Murphy, but more times than not, it was fun watching him hit.

The current Mets lineup has plenty of talent spread out from top to bottom, but there are many streaky players who strike out quite a bit. Although Murphy would not be on fire throughout the entire year, he rarely struck out and put the ball in play. Last season he only struck out 38 times while playing in 130 games. The lack of strike outs and consistent contact is what makes the Royals so dangerous, and difficult to defeat.

Sunday night’s game was difficult to watch, as David Wright struggled to catch up to the fastball, while Edison Volquez battled back from a 2-0 count with two fastballs that were blown by Cespedes. Hopefully we will be able to chalk it up to rustiness, and these players need time to get things going, but the Mets need someone who is going to provide hard contact throughout the course of the season, instead of being a team that either swings for the fences, or strikes out.

In the eighth inning, we saw the Mets string together quality at-bats, as the team was getting on base. Juan Lagares singled up the middle, followed by a Curtis Granderson walk. Wright struck out, and Cespedes took a walk. In an attempt to make something happen with the bases loaded, we saw Lucas Duda hit a soft liner over the infield, which drove in two runs. The Mets have to manufacture runs this way, instead of relying on the long ball like they did in October. Murphy fell into that category as well, as he hit seven homers in the first two rounds, then hit .150 with 0 RBIs against the Royals.

Murphy was a solid player throughout his Mets tenure, and it feels foreign seeing him play and succeed on another team. Again it is only one game, but Murphy’s bat might be missed more than we thought.

7 comments for “Daniel Murphy’s bat will be missed

  1. Matty Mets
    April 5, 2016 at 10:15 am

    Same thoughts running through my head. What if Murphy really did turn a corner last year and has the best season of his career? What if Cespedes has a disappointing year? What if Wright spends half the season on the DL and Flores does a less than stellar job filling in? What if Sandy & Co made all the wrong off-season decisions? I sure hope not, but we’ll have a better idea soon enough.

    If it’s any consolation, imagine the thoughts running through Dbacks fans’ heads today.

    • James Newman
      April 5, 2016 at 11:00 am

      Great point Matty, even though it is only one game into the season, there were some signs that do not seem promising coming from the offensive side of the baseball. There are a lot of guys who strike out, and do not make the productive outs. Again, only one game against one of the best teams in baseball, so with time, the team should be fine.

    • Harry
      April 5, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Exactly why I was begging Sandy to bring him back. If David goes down, I’d rather have murph at third than Flores or (dare I say it) Soup. Murph had value on this team with his ability to play 3rd and 1st and his clutch bat from the 2nd and 3rd spot. We got weaker in the lineup and if David goes down long term we’d get weaker in the field too.

  2. Harry
    April 5, 2016 at 11:20 am

    Losing Murph (or the Pseudo Captain as I used to call him) will likely be one of the key mistakes of Sandy’s administration. It takes no genius to see how this team’s biggest weakness is hitting with RISP. It takes no genius to see that the one thing Murph does better than anyone on this team is hitting with RISP. Last year alone he hit .583 with bases loaded and .367 with RISP. I was begging the mets to bring him back just for this reason alone. Now you subtract him and add him to our biggest rival. It only took one game for it to start biting us in the rear end. The captain is not gonna cut it and Cespy will have his moments but he needs to stop swinging for the fences. Sad to have one of our own and a guy that wore the blue and orange in his heart and practically begged for them to give him almost any long term deal now helping out the gnats. But Sandy never appreciated his talents and we will all see how valuable his bat truly is. Of all the players on this team now I’d still take Murph in a clutch situation over anyone else.

    • Mets Lover Since 69
      April 5, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      Bingo! Your are so right regarding your comments and what I said when the Mets let him get away. Murphy played his heart out for the Mets and accepted new defensive positions for the good of the club whereas most players would have complained. When he tried to take an extra base and was thrown out it was deemed a bonehead play with the NY media and fan critics berating him unmercifully. Most other markets they would have applauded his efforts to force the defense to make a play. Murphy was an above average 3rd baseman which his natural position, an average 1st baseman and when when moved to 2nd base he struggled, but didn’t quit or complain. His Mets offensive stats will easily make him a future MET HOF because his production exceeds many who are already there. Long term, it will easily qualify in the top 10 as a Met management worst mistakes. Nats get a gift in Murphy while the Mets have to make a decision on Wright’s defensive decline and inability to make contact with even today’s average fastball. Mets 1st game is a great indicator because David couldn’t field and throw twice to to get runners out of the batters box. Three years ago Wright would have thrown them out by 2 steps.

  3. James Preller
    April 5, 2016 at 1:01 pm

    I love Murphy for his on-the-sleeve competitiveness; he is already missed. However, there was a cold logic to letting him go, and I am satisfied with the Walker/Herrera plan moving forward.

    Daniel is an all-time great Met. Just a terrific hitter and teammate.

    He would have been a solid answer to the 3B riddle. Oh well.

    Of course, he’s dead to me now.

  4. RK
    April 5, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    A lot of revisionist history and sentimentality here. Murphy was a solid Met but there was a reason no one in the league wanted to trade for him. He’s not highly thought of around league because he’s a replaceable player. No one jumped at him in free agency either, the Nats signed him in desperation because no one else wanted them. In fact it was widely reported that it was very split within the Nats front office on whether they should go after Murphy. Don’t you think baseball knows more than the fans do? We are still basking in 9 playoff games when in reality look at what Murphy provides. He’s talked about as if he’s a great hitter, when in fact he hit over 300 once in his entire career. He’s a 289 career hitter. He’s never hit 15 homers in a season but you guys think he’s turned the corner at age 30 because of 9 playoff games and one opening day homer? Name me the players with 8 years or so of experience who all of a sudden turned into a major power threat. He’s never driven in 80 runs and has a career 332 OBP. I haven’t even brought up his defense and base running blunders. I get missing Murph, he was a long time Met and provided us with post season memories we will always appreciate. But don’t let that affection alter the fact that Murph is solid but replaceable player that no other team desired. Neil Walker is a better fit and has been just as good a player if not better in his career. They got a #1 pick for Murphy and will get one for Walker too when Herrera takes over in 2017. It’s time to move along. If the Mets don’t win it won’t be because Murphy isn’t on the club. Neil Walker is not Jason Bay.

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