The next player in the “Make it or break it” series is none other than Daniel Murphy. Talk about a roller coaster of a season this kid has had. Daniel Murphy started the year as the Mets LF and will finish the year as the Mets 1B.Â Lets take a look at the two halfs of his season in 2009 as well as the reason Daniel broke camp as the Mets STARTING left fielder.
The Mets were in a redemption season, as they ended the previous one making history as the biggest collapse in baseball history. With all the drama surrounding the Mets with a midseason managerial change and several injuries along the way, the Mets promoted Daniel Murphy on August 2nd after they had just placed Marlon Anderson on the DL. In his first at bat, Murphy laced a single against Roy Oswalt. According to Wikipedia, Daniel as of August 9, 2008 was only the 5th Mets rookie to record 10 hits in his first 20 at-bats. Daniel was known for his bat (.290 career avg in the minors) and work ethic and both were on display from day one. Daniel kept a workmanâ€™s like approach at the plate and turned in some impressive performances, as evidence by him seeing an average of 4.25 pitches per at bat. Daniel finished out the year in the majors with a .313avg/2 Hrâ€™s/.871 OPS. During a offseason that showcased several outfielders, they chose to stick with their youth and home grown playerâ€¦mostly because of what he showcased for the last 2 months of the season.
After a busy offseason for the Mets, they were ready to make some noise and Daniel made his presence known from the start. Murphyâ€™s 2 run homerun in the season opener turned out to be all the offense for the Mets and they went on the beat the Reds by the score of 2-1. While offense did not seem to be an issue for Daniel, his defense was a whole other story. Daniel made 3 errors in 27 games in LF. One of his errors ended up costing the Mets a game against the Marlins Josh Johnson as the unearned runs played the difference in the game and handed Mets ace Johan Santana the loss. Daniel had a .950 fielding percentage but did have 1 assist and 1 double play. As a foreshadowing of what was to come, in May the Mets 1b man Carlos Delgado went down with an injury that later resulted in hip surgery that put the big guy out until(at that time) September. Seeing an opportunity to put Daniel Murphy in a situation that he would be more familiar with given his minor league experience at 3b(196 games), the Mets decided to give Murphy a shot at 1b on May 20. Since that time, Murphy at 1b has been an adventure. At times, Daniel would show flashes of brilliance at 1b that would make Keith Hernandez proud but others his inexperience at the position would rear its ugly head. Daniel has committed 10 errors at 1b but his fielding percentage is .987 and has 71 double plays. Daniel is currently batting .261 with 55 Rbiâ€™s and 9 homeruns. Daniel Murphy is the only man other than Luis Castillo from the season opening lineup that has not landed on the DL and Daniel actually played the most games out of all the Mets at 140.
Now if I knew the future I probably would have my own island because I would much rather use this ability to win the lotto several times over as Iâ€™m sure most people would. I donâ€™t know what will happen with Murphy but I will present several arguments. Daniel Murphy is only 24 years old and is extremely cheap. The first baseman FA class is very uninspiring as the most appealing names are Nick Johnson (who comes with injury concerns) and Adam Laroche. Murphy plugs a hole the Mets have for several years and if he does not improve, there is always Ike Davis working to make it to the show. However, the Mets are dead last in the MLB when it comes to HR production at 86. Going into the offseason, the Mets will lose their cleanup man Carlos Delgado who spent the majority of the year on the DL. This presents a big problem for a team that has a â€œpitchers parkâ€ and has struggled for power this season. As mentioned by several readers, a trade for Adrian Gonzalez would make the most sense for the Mets given their current predicament. A move such as this will most likely include Daniel Murphy in the mix. Will the Mets live up to the usual stereotype of big market clubs and choose to trade away home grown talent? One other thing that must be taken into consideration is money. The Mets insist they will not cut payroll but there is almost a new report each day from various sources that speaks of the contrary. The balance of money and team needs is a juggling act that may or may not spell the end of Daniel Murphyâ€™s tenure with the Mets but his odds are really split down the middle at 50/50. Would you break the stereotype of big market clubs and stick with youth and a fan favorite or would you sacrifice your home grown player for the greater good. Thing is with Murphy, he brings intangibles that cannot be measured. Murphy is a grinder and works his ass off to be as good as he can be. Yes he is not a lock, but very few 24 year olds with less than a year of major league experience Iâ€™m sure are. Murphy is a person with a strong work ethic on a team that has been called into question regarding this attribute. As positive as someone with Murphyâ€™s intangibles can be for this team, he may ultimately be used as a chip to obtain other talent. What do you think? Do you see Daniel Murphy as 2010â€™s starting 1b man?