New York Mets News

Daniel Murphy: Mets Season in Review

By Danny Abriano
Jul 22, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy (28) hits a single against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 22, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy (28) hits a single against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports /
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We continue our 2014 Mets Season in Review series with second baseman Daniel Murphy.

After a very solid first five months of the season, Murphy dealt with a late-season disabled list stint and had a rough September, hitting just .191 in 68 at-bats. Still, with David Wright‘s injury and ineffectiveness, Murphy was the Mets’ most reliable bat in 2014.

How he fared in 2014:

Until his injury late in the year, Murphy had a solid chance to finish the year with the league-lead in hits. Due to time missed, he wound up finishing the year with 179 hits. Overall, he finished with a triple slash of .289/.332/.403, to go along with nine home runs, 37 doubles, 57 RBI and 79 runs scored. Murphy, who is usually pretty streaky, was quite reliable in 2014 (save for September). From April through August, he hit at least .280 each month, with a high of .318 in August.

For his very solid year with the bat, Murphy was rewarded with a trip to the All-Star Game in July.

As has always been the case, there were a handful of ‘Oh, Murph’ moments in 2014: times when Murphy’s aggressiveness gets the best of him.

Additionally, although Murphy has worked hard on his defense at second base, it continued to be a negative in 2014. He made most of the routine plays, but his agility around the bag and lack of range continued to hamper him.

Areas to improve upon:

With a handful of years at second base under his belt, it doesn’t appear that Murphy’s defense will get any better. That isn’t for a lack of trying, but is still a concern for a team whose starting pitchers induce tons of ground balls. However, if Murphy can avoid those patented ‘Oh, Murph’ moments, his presence at second base will be easier to handle.

Regarding his offense, along with his very solid year with the bat were advanced stats that were stable or improved. Murphy’s walk rate increased, his strikeout rate went down, and he reached base at a better clip than he did in 2013. Still, for a spray hitter who controls the strike zone well, Murphy should be getting on base at a better clip than .332. Improving his OBP should be one of Murphy’s main focuses heading into next season.

Projected Role in 2015:

If Murphy is on the Mets in 2015, he’ll almost certainly be the starting second baseman. However, there is a decent chance Murphy is dealt during the offseason, which brings us to…

Contract Status and Trade Rumors:

Murphy is due for a raise via arbitration that will likely net him roughly $8 million in 2015. He’s eligible for free agency after the season.

With Murphy set for a decent raise and due to hit free agency after 2015, there have been reports that the Mets may look to deal him prior to the season in order to maximize a potential return.

Why would the Mets trade one of their best hitters?

According to many, the Mets simply don’t see Murphy as a $10 million dollar a year player, which is what he’ll likely get when he hits the market. The Mets haven’t engaged Murphy’s representatives in extension talks, adding fuel to the fire that they may deal him.

Making it a bit easier to deal Murphy is the fact that the Mets could either shift Wilmer Flores to second base, go with Dilson Herrera, or potentially use Matt Reynolds there if Murphy is traded. Those players are all offensive-minded and have solid ceilings, meaning the dropoff from Murphy to one of them may not be big.

Shedding Murphy’s salary would also allow the Mets to allocate those funds elsewhere, perhaps at shortstop or the outfield.

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