In Spring Training of 2010, the Mets were coming off of a season of a horrific pileup of injuries. Virtually every starting position player suffered some sort of injury except for the 24-year old Daniel Murphy who put together a breakout year. The age of Carlos Delgado around the bag at first had come to a close and a new era was beginning. It appeared after many positional changes for Murphy, that he had found his place with the Amazin’s at first base. That all changed on March 30th, 2010 with something as innocent as a rundown between third and home during a Spring Training game.
With Murphy out for the first few weeks of the season, the Mets mustered together Fernando Tatis and Mike Jacobs to split time at first until he could return from his knee sprain. Many vouched for top-prospect Ike Davis to break camp with the Mets and start at first base, but figuring that he could use some more seasoning, he was sent to Triple-A Buffalo. Come Opening Day, Murphy is still recovering, and Mike Jacobs gets the start at first.
Eventually the Jacobs-Tatis stopgap goes belly up and the power hitting, dugout flipping, rookie sensation Ike Davis makes his debut in the big leagues. He starts off red hot, hitting .324/.415/.500 in the month of April, essentially taking the job away from the recuperating Daniel Murphy. Still on the mend and now out a position on the team, Murphy begins working on becoming a second baseman.
After several weeks of groundballs and learning of the ins and outs of second base, Murphy makes his debut at second in AAA Buffalo with limited success. That success would be short lived as the next day a minor leaguer slid into Murph, tearing a ligament in his knee due to what many called a “dirty play” on the opposition’s part. He would miss the rest of the season and due to other’s being injured, would not get a whole lot of time at second in 2011.
My question is: What would have happened had Murphy not made that sudden movement at third base in the final week of Spring Training? Would he still be the Mets first baseman? Would he have been traded to make room for Davis? Who would be at second now? It all might have played out much differently.
Maybe the Amazin’s platoon Murphy and Davis. Maybe Ike goes to the bench. Maybe Murph becomes a super utility. Maybe the Mets include Murphy or Davis in a package for Roy Oswalt or Cliff Lee in 2010. Maybe Murphy goes back to the outfield. Maybe Turner, Tejada or Valdespin take over at second. Maybe everything turns out the way it already has unfolded whether Murph was injured or not.
Its just incredible how one lone injury puts a guy out for a month, and effects the futures of multiple players involved.