A couple of weeks ago, in the post you can read below, I said Daniel Murphy was the early favorite for the second base job. Of course my comments were tongue in cheek and just making light of his early showing to Spring Training.
That said, a few hours ago during a televised press conference on SNY, I believe that Terry Collins may have tipped his hand regarding who his favorite is for the everyday second base job which will be contested this Spring.
It sounded to me like he gave a glowing endorsement for Daniel Murphy when Collins stated the following,
“I do believe today that second base has become an offensive position. We already know Daniel Murphy can hit in the major leagues, we don’t know that about Brad Emaus.”
Obviously, that completely rules out any chance Ruben Tejada may have had, rightfully so. Then, speaking specifically about Daniel Murphy he said,
“Murphy can win that second base job. He is doing everything in his power to get that job. He is one of the most determined young men I have ever worked with. He’s a ball player. I have a feeling that on the days he isn’t penciled into a spring training lineup, that he will plead with me to let him play second base at the minor league side of the complex.”
When asked specifically about whether he can turn a double play, Collins responded,
“That kid is highly motivated - he is getting better everyday. He’s very lucky to have guys like Chip Hale, Tim Teufel, Rafael Landestoy and Wally Backman around. There are plenty of people here who are working with Murph and teaching him how to turn a double play. That’s not even a concern right now.”
Things are looking up Murph, who I still believe will be the Opening Day second baseman for the New York Mets.
It must be the Luck O’ the Irish.
Original Post 2/1 11:00 PM
Daniel Murphy knows fully well that if he is going to be on the Mets Opening Day roster, his best chance to make it would be to win the second base job in spring training this year.
So far, as of Tuesday morning, consider Murphy the “early” favorite for the second base job, if only because he is the first Major Leaguer to arrive at Mets camp in Port St. Lucie since the gates at Digital Domain Park opened on January 24th.
Until yesterday, new manager Terry Collins has been holding down the fort at Mets camp with six minor leaguers including Tobi Stoner, Scott Moviel and Brad Holt, that is until Murphy showed up in his workout attire and with his second base glove, and proclaimed himself ready to go.
“I like to get down here and get settled in,” said Murphy to TCPalm.com. “There’s nobody out here so there are plenty of swings going around, plenty of groundballs to take. Today we had three or four position players and almost five or six coaches out there, so it is a great time to get a lot of one-on-one work with people who are familiar with the position you are trying to master.”
Murphy will be competing with Rule 5 Draftee Brad Emaus, minor leaguer Justin Turner, and veteran hold-over Luis Castillo for the everyday job.
Last week, Murphy spoke to Adam Rubin, and Murph sounded like a man on on a mission and someone who is absolutely dedicated and driven to win that job.
“I’ve been talking to Terry Collins, and he said I’m going to get as good as chance as anybody to win that job,” said Murphy. “First and foremost, it’s about doing something to help the ballclub win in whatever capacity that may be. He told me first and third, I need to be able to do that as well. But my goal is to play second for 162 games.”
Murphy will be participating in his third spring training with the Mets, each of them had him competing to win a job at three different positions; left field in 2009, first base in 2010, and second base in 2011. He’s confident that he can pull it off.
“It’s been a little bit easier the last two years because I’ve spent so much more time on the dirt, playing infield. I’ve played some second before in the minor leagues. I played in high school. So it’s not quite as foreign as I think left field was to me, and even probably first base.”
When last we saw Murphy, it was in 2009 when he played his first full season in the majors. In a season that started with a failed experiment in left field, and then being thrust at first base having never played the position, he still performed pretty good at the plate. In 155 games, Murphy posted a stat line of .266/.313/.427 in 556 plate appearances. He drove in 63 runs while while scoring 60, and collected 38 doubles and 12 home runs.
If he could build on those numbers and play an average second base, this could be a huge problem solved for the Mets as they look for some stability at that position.
I wish Daniel Murphy well on his quest to claim that second base job.