Last summer I posed the question, “Can Daniel Murphy Be an Everyday Player?” Nearly 11 months later it appears that the answer to that question is NO; at least not with the New York Mets.
Murphy, who finished last year’s 109-game injury shortened season hitting .320 with 6 HRs and 49 RBI, has been losing playing time recently and is mired in a month-long slump. Daniel was noticeably absent again in last night’s starting lineup and lined out to second as a pinch hitter in the 9th inning. After boasting an impressive .336 batting average on May 16th, Murphy’s average has fallen to .269 and he has zero HRs on the year.
As a source close to the Mets front office situation put it, “It’s one thing if Daniel is going to hit .320 with very little power and below average defense, but hitting .270 with no power and no defense just isn’t going to cut it.”
The source went on to say that Murphy is being shopped to contending teams as a “utility player and pinch hitter.”
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To many following the Mets money problems, this comes as somewhat of a surprise, as Murphy is only 27 years old, making just $512,000, and is not even arbitration eligible until 2013. To others, Murphy’s limited physical qualities creates more problems than it does good, and this move is a no-brainer since there is perceived demand.
“Murph is in a slump now, but teams out there know what we do, he’s a professional hitter,” said the source. “He’s got value in this game, just not as an everyday position player. He can play 1st, 2nd or 3rd adequately for periods at a time, it’s over an extended periods where he gets exposed. Combine his ability to fill in at multiple positions with the fact that he’s a professional hitter and yes, there is definitely interest in him.” said the source.
The reason for the Mets potentially moving Daniel Murphy at this time is that they have apparently identified who they want to be their second basemen of the future. “We love the athleticism and things that [Jordany] Valdespin can do on the baseball field. He brings energy and some exceptional tools,” said the source.
The 24-year-old prospect from the Dominican Republic has apparently impressed the Mets during his 33 games with the big club this year. Noted for his over-exuberance in the minors, the only news he’s made this season with his mouth has been the now infamous “I’m the man right now” quote in early May following his game-winning homer off Philadelphia Phillies closer Jonathan Papelbon. The Mets have been pleased with his attitude during his time with the big club as well as the skill sets he brings to the table. As for his toned-down swagger, it’s been refreshing.
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In 63 at-bats with New York this season, Valdespin is hitting .222 with 2 HRs, 12 RBI and 3 SBs. To be fair, Valdespin although very athletic, hasn’t showed anymore infield prowess than Murphy has this year. Obviously the Mets are confident that will change.
Despite their aspirations to have Valdespin be their everyday second basemen, before last night’s interleague game at Citi Field against the cross town rival New York Yankees, the Mets made two roster moves, one involving Valdespin. The Mets placed closer Frank Francisco on the DL and recalled reliever Elvin Ramirez; they also sent Valdespin back to AAA, activating shortstop Ruben Tejada from the DL. Tejada was in last night’s starting lineup, going 2-4 with 2 RBI..
So for now, it’s Valdespin in the minors, where he will get everyday at bats and Murphy on the Mets where he may not. The Mets will do their best to move Murphy prior to the trade deadline with Valdespin ultimately being given the shot to be the everyday second basemen…
The founder and former owner of MC3 Sports Media, Mike Cardano is the Sr. Business Administrator for RotoExperts and the Executive Director here at TheXLog.com. You may email Mike @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @MikeCardano. Listen to Mike on Sirius XM Fantasy Sports Radio with Scott Engel and the morning crew Tuesday mornings at 10am ET.