Daniel Murphy is a heckuva baseball player according to most, but ssemingly has no position on a diamond he can call his own. By now this comes as no surprise to Mets fans, but according to Steve Popper of The Record, there’s been some talk of Murphy picking up an outfielders glove in the future and re-hashing the left field experiment.
The Mets expect Davis back at first next year, so second base is the most likely spot (for Murphy). But there has been some talk of a shift to left, with Jason Bay moving to center if Angel Pagan is not retained.
Murphy’s approach and consistency at the plate, has made him a fine hitter and offensive weapon for a team that lost it’s big thumper in the line-up. He leads the team in RBIs and is currently fifth in the National League in batting with a .319 average.
The plan going into this season was for Murphy to fill a super utility role off the bench, but obviously he’s played himself into an everyday player now, and Collins needs him in his lineup.
According to the NY Times, during a recent Mets telecast, Keith Hernandez and Ron Darling held a prolonged discussion about Murphy.
The two were clearly intrigued by the riddle Murphy presents. And Hernandez could not keep himself from being critical, saying he respected the way Murphy hustled but was skeptical of his baseball instincts and questioned whether such instincts could be taught or somehow acquired.
“I don’t want it to feel like I’m burying him here, but his instincts are not good,” Hernandez said. “He makes too many mistakes on an almost daily basis.”
Former GM Omar Minaya, who selected Murphy in the 13th round of the 2006 draft also weighed in on the situation and believes the problem is that Murphy is being over-aggressive:
“He’s one of those guys that’s very intense,” Minaya said, “and sometimes that intensity can get him in trouble on the base paths or in the field.”
Minaya, who praised Murphy as “a grinder, a gamer,” said it was possible the game was still moving too quickly for him at the major league level, and suggested it would slow down once he settles into a single position, if he ever does. Minaya said if the decision were his, he would not rule out trying Murphy in the outfield again.
SNY analyst and former Mets pitcher Bobby Ojeda, agreed with Minaya and also suggested that it was Murphy’s great hitting in the minors that allowed him to quickly move through the system which caused him orga
Both Minaya and Ojeda suggested Murphy’s gifts at the plate had hindered his overall development; it led him to be moved quickly to the majors in 2008 before he had the time to get better at one position. His minor league apprenticeship included just nine games in Class AAA.
“Maybe you can’t learn innate instinct, to use that word, but you can teach a feel for the game, and that happens with repetition,” Ojeda said. But Murphy did not get that repetition at the highest level of the minor leagues.
This battle will wage on for the rest of the season and then become amplified even more during the winter when the matter becomes even more pressing.