After more than two months on the DL, the return of David Wright to the New York Mets lineup Friday night was a sight for sore eyes for both teammates and fans. Wright didn’t disappoint with an RBI-double in his first at-bat. In the eighth inning Wright doubled once again, this time giving the Mets the lead for good. Wright finished 2 for 5 in the win with a pair of runs driven in and runs scored as the Mets beat the Florida Marlins 7-6 in Sun Life Stadium.
Wright’s successful return grabbed all the headlines, but one of the more interesting stories less focused on was what Wright’s return meant for David Murphy. With Wright’s return, someone obviously had to be moved out of the starting lineup, but it wasn’t going to be Murphy. Friday night, Murphy who had started the last 16 games at third base, moved over to first base with Lucas Duda moving to left field and Jason Bay moving to the bench.
If you’ve been following the Mets for the past few years you know that no matter who the GM or manager has been, Daniel Murphy has always been a favorite, and they’ve always tried to find him at bats. Earlier in his career, Murphy failed miserably defensively at almost any position they tried him at, and they’ve tried him almost everywhere at one point or another except center field, shortstop, pitcher and catcher. The outfield in particular was a place that was hard to watch Murphy play both as a fan and as compassionate human as he was like a fish out of water. Murphy has worked hard however on his defense over time and is now considered an asset to the team because he can play three positions adequately while providing added offensive.
Murphy isn’t a power threat and the fact that he was so poor defensively always bothered Mets fans. It’s one thing to be a 40 HR, 100 RBI guy and play poor defense but to be a “contact hitter” and play poor defense just never passed the smell test. Now that he’s no longer a huge liability in the field, Murphy is getting a chance to get every day at bats. Murphy is a “professional hitter,” a label that’s been placed on him since the day he took his first MLB at bat, and the fans are starting to see what Mets management has always contended. In fact, even though he’s not a home run threat, with all the injuries the Mets have had, Murphy had seen plenty of time hitting cleanup of late.
Murphy is batting .359 with 18 RBI in his last 25 games and it’s clear that the Mets are going to try to find way to get Murphy at bats. He’s improved enough defensively in the infield to be a serviceable option at third, first and second. On the year Murphy has now played 40-games at first, 28-games at third and 23-games at second
Although it seems that he’s been around for quite a while, Murphy just turned 26-years old in April. On the year Murphy is batting .307 with 24 2Bs, 6 HRs, 42 RBI and 40 RS. It appears that Murphy will receive the majority of time at first base until Ike Davis comes back. When Carlos Beltran gets traded, Duda will most likely move to the outfield and if they shut Davis down for the year, Murphy pretty much has a position to play for the rest of the year. But what happens going forward?
Will Daniel Murphy be the Mets starting second baseman next year? Can he hold up defensively in the middle of the infield for an entire season? Is he even an everyday player?
The Mets clearly will have some decisions to make. At first glance, assuming he fields his position adequately enough, with Murphy’s hitting prowess, he certainly appears to be an attractive option at second base. In fact, (not that it matters to the Mets) even from a Fantasy Baseball standpoint it makes sense.
This offseason of hot stove baseball will certainly an interesting one for Mets fans as this will most certainly be one of the most popular topics for their fans.
Around the Horn
At the Ballpark in Arlington, Nelson Cruz went 4-4 with a HR and 8 RBI Friday night in the Texas Rangers 12-2 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. Wow.
In Philadelphia, Cole Hamels struck out 10 San Diego Padres, allowing only one run on three hits, to pick up his 12th win as the Philadelphia Phillies knocked off the Padres 3-1. Before the game, Philadelphia activated former All-Star closer Brad Lidge from the disabled. Lidge had been sidelined since Spring Training by a right rotator cuff strain.
In the Bronx, the New York Yankees scored 17 runs against the Oakland A’s yet Phil Hughes couldn’t stand the prosperity and was unable to last 5 innings to get the win. Hughes lasted just 4.1 innings giving up 9 hits, 4 walks and 7 earned runs. Not good. One has to wonder if Hughes is once again is experiencing a dead appendage.
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