Whether you loved him or hated him, there’s no denying how important and historic Daniel Murphy‘s performance in the 2015 playoffs was.
But that was then, and this is now.
It stung when Murphy signed with the Washington Nationals and proceeded to torment the Mets for two and a half seasons. And while he had his career renaissance away from New York and is a different player now than he was then, the Mets are Murphy are not a good match in free agency this winter.
Earlier this week, there have been some articles out there that have wondered if the Mets could consider re-signing Murphy this winter.
Considering that the Mets have an affinity to pursuing mid-tier, banged up and aging veterans, I wouldn’t put it past them.
But I’m here to be a voice of reason as to why New York should not bring back Murphy, even if it is from my lips to the Wilpon’s ears.
I Used to be an Adventurer Like You…Then I Took an Arrow In the Knee
This past offseason, Murphy had micro fracture surgery on his knee and was sidelined until mid-June.
While he has rebounded at the plate to hit .302/.338/.468 with 10 homers, 36 RBI, a .343 wOBA and a 113 wRC+, he has been worth just 0.5 WAR.
If you remember Murphy as the Mets second baseman, you will remember that defense wasn’t exactly one of his strengths.
That has held true this year, as he has recorded -12 DRS and a whopping -5.5 UZR across 391.1 innings at the keystone.
Someone who was bad defensively from the onset, combined with knee surgery which has surely limited range and mobility is a deadly combo. Plus, he will be turning 34 next April and is no longer in his prime.
The future for Murphy is likely with an American League team where he could DH regularly and slot in in the field occasionally, not as an everyday second baseman for a National League team.
Infielder Jeff McNeil has held down the fort at second base practically since his midseason call up, and for good reason. He can rake.
The 26-year-old, finally healthy, zoomed through the upper two levels of the minors this season en route to Queens and has looked promising as a big leaguer as well.
In 42 games (154 plate appearances), McNeil has a triple slash of .319/.382/.464 with two homers and 13 RBI. In addition, he has a robust 135 wRC+ to complement a .365 wOBA, while being worth 1.4 fWAR.
McNeil has opened some eyes offensively, and while he isn’t a stud defensively, he’s been passable (-1 DRS, -0.1 UZR/281.0 IP).
It would be a travesty to bring Murphy in here, only to relegate McNeil to a bench or super utility role.
The infield is the least of the Mets worries, with Todd Frazier under control for one more year, Amed Rosario coming into his own, McNeil surging, Peter Alonso on the precipice and guys like T.J. Rivera and Wilmer Flores able to slot in at multiple positions.
Where the Mets must improve is in the bullpen, or to pursue an offensive bat like Manny Machado (a pipe dream, but would make Frazier expendable). Murphy doesn’t have a place on this team.
Play the Kids!
We saw what happened this year when the Mets tried to stack their team up with guys past their prime…it didn’t work.
Frazier has been pretty much what we expected, but Adrian Gonzalez was a huge flop, Jose Bautista fizzled out, Jose Reyes is…well…that’s a whole article in itself, and Jason Vargas has been overall bad.
It’s time to give the young guys a chance to play everyday.
It’s bad enough that Jay Bruce is a square peg in a round hole for two more seasons, the Mets don’t need anyone else clogging up more defensive positions.
And don’t get me wrong, I liked Murphy the player when he was a Met and even before his Babe Ruth-esque postseason I went to battle for him, but that ship has sailed.
I want McNeil and I want him now.
With that being said, this has been my rant on why Murphy is a bad fit for the 2019 Mets.