After Friday’s game against the Yankees, Daniel Murphy has now sat the last two games as a starter. Some are left wondering if this will be a continuing theme.
Well, after going just 8-58 in his last 16 games, Terry Collins is starting to use the hot hand by inserting Jordany Valdespin and Justin Turner into the lineup more often. Now, the last two games the Mets were opposed by a couple of lefties, so naturally this gave Collins a good reason to sit Murphy down, as to clear his head. But you have to wonder if Murphy will be caught in a platoon or if this is just a slump he can fight through.
With his defense under constant scrutiny, it has been the prevailing thought around these parts that as long as Murphy hits, we’ll let his defense slide. What happens when he doesn’t hit though?
Look, we all know that Murphy is a great contact hitter who has great plate discipline and is likely to bust out of the slump sooner or later, but when you’re sporting a .270/.313/.342 slash line with no power you justifiably have reason for concern. After all, Murphy’s .655 OPS only ranks 18th in the league.
While the home runs would be nice (as everyone should know he has to go yard this season), Mets’ fans would at least like to see a couple of more doubles from Murphy. Murphy does have good gap power and has a more than-respectable 17 doubles on the year. However, only three of them have been hit in June.
Many Mets’ fans are saying they want to see Valdespin get a shot at second, given his power/speed potential. Heck, I was even part of that bandwagon, but this rush to dismiss Murphy as the Mets’ starting second baseman because of one prolonged slump is just too hasty.
Murphy is a gamer, who will go the extra mile to help the club win games. Believe it or not, Murphy is the second most-tenured Mets’ hitter on the club. Murphy has been through the thick and the thin and has experience on his side. You can’t just dismiss Murphy’s value to this club, shrug it off and pin him as the current scapegoat.
Now is he better suited for the American League? Perhaps (and I guess this is why the Mets should explore all possible trade options when it comes to Murphy), but the Mets have stuck with Murphy for a long time, so they sure as heck won’t give up on him after a protracted slump.
Murphy will likely be inserted into tomorrow’s lineup when he and the Mets face off against the Yankee’s righty Ivan Nova. And depending on how he does against Nova, Collins may opt to sit Murphy down again on Sunday when the Mets are slated to take on the always-tough CC Sabathia, who as you all should know is one of the game’s best lefties.
Once Murphy starts gaining back his confidence and swinging the bat like we all know he can, then this is all going to become a moot point. Eventually Murphy will become the hitter we expect him to be.
Hopefully that starts on Saturday against Nova and the Yankees.
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2 comments on “Is it too soon to give up on Daniel Murphy?”
Murphy should platoon with Turner for a while. Their #’s are similar and it would give Turner an opportunity and keep him sharp. If one of them gets hot, then play the hot hand. At this juncture both players seem to level out as average players although Murphy has shown more in the past in power and BA.Either Turner or Murphy are expendable if it were to bring in somebullpen help. Valdespin should be the lefthanded platoon in leftfield with Hairston. It will give him some AB’s and allow him to ease into major league baseball. If he succeeds, then he may end up the Met answer in 2013 at 2B.
It’s not a fluke that Murphy has hit in the majors but he keeps changing his approach every year, maybe due to making adjustments but this year he’s relied on the hole between SS and 3B with that one handed swing and has been unnable to clear his hips on pitches inside which has led to weak contact.
Last year when he hit a ground ball to the right side it didn’t hit the ground until the infield skin and was usually hit so sharp it was by the second basemen before he could react, this year many of them bounce right in front of the plate.
One of Havens, Flores, Muno or Tejada will be playing 2B in the next couple years and Murphy’s ultimate destination is utility PH and backup at 1B, 2B and 3B and that can be very valuable for a contending team.
My best guess is Murphy gets 2013 at 2B and come 2014 Tovar’s at SS, Tejada’s at 2B and Murph gets the first 6 innings at 2B about a third of the time with Tejada swinging back and forth. Havens and Muno are real wild cards at this point and Flores depends to some extent on what happens with Wright.
That gets good D up the middle, keeps everyone fresh and still allows Murphy as a pinch hitter, PT starter and DH vs. AL teams to influence about half the games (with no injuries) if he stops jamming himself on the inner half which I think he will.