Thursday, December 24, 2015

Murphy Stings Mets, Signs with Nationals

The Mets will see Daniel Murphy a lot after all this upcoming season, and it won't be in their uniform. The former Mets second baseman has signed with NL East rival, the Washington Nationals on Christmas Eve with a three year contract. The dollars were not disclosed immediately.

Murphy heads to D.C. riding an incredible ride in the postseason last fall, in which he homered in six straight games, setting a new Major League record and earning him NLCS MVP honors after the Mets swept away the Chicago Cubs.

Murphy has always been a pretty decent hitter. A lifetime .288 hitter with 62 home runs and 402 RBI, Murphy hit .281 in 2015 with a single-season high 14 homers. Murphy has tremendous pop from the left side of the plate, and is adept at pulling the ball down the line. When going well he get knock the ball out of the ball park, or line doubles off the walls in right and right-center.

He also provides some steady veteran leadership for a Nationals team that desperately needs leaders. Last season the Nats fell apart in the second half of the season, as Murphy's Mets glided past them for the division title. The lasting image of Bryce Harper and Jonathan Papelbon fighting in the dugout became the metaphor to the 2015 season for the Nationals.

While Murphy is a good bat and presence to add to the Washington franchise, his defense leaves a lot to be desired. He committed six errors at second base last year with a fielding percentage of .979. However the biggest error of the year for Murphy came in Game 4 of the World Series when he booted a ball in the ninth inning that led to a Royals come-from-behind win. In a lot of ways, the Nationals are getting a better hitter than Ian Desmond, but a player who has about the same amount of issues in the field.

As for the Mets, this a huge slap in the face for them. While they never committed to bringing Murphy back into the fold, losing him to a division rival has to sting. Fred and Jeff Wilpon are a lot of criticism this winter already, after the team acquired an expiring contract in Neil Walker, and signed a below average outfielder in Alejandro De Aza. The team has shown no interest in pursuing free agent outfielder Yoenis Cespedes, who single-handedly carried the team into playoff contention down the stretch last year.

Cespedes is seeking a contract in the neighborhood of 5 - to - 6 years, something the Mets don't want to commit to. As a result, Cespedes will be elsewhere come 2016, while the Mets still will be without a legitimate power threat in the middle of their line-up.

Call it a Merry Christmas for Daniel Murphy, and a lump of coal for Mets fans.

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