The Case for Daniel Murphy
Listen, I have nothing against Brad Emaus. I’m sure he’s a very nice guy. But Daniel Murphy deserves to get the second base job over him, despite reports the Mets are getting set to tab Emaus for the job.
First of all, Murphy is batting .310 this spring with ten RBIs. Emaus is batting .293, but before going 4-4 in Thursday’s 16-run, 23-hit barrage against the Cardinals, he was hitting a paltry .216. Neither one is particularly graceful in the field, so there is no clear defensive advantage.
But let’s look at what Murphy has done for the Mets. In his rookie year in 2008, he came out of nowhere to hit .313 in 39 games. Then in 2009 he was given the starting left field job — a position he never played before. Murphy was embarrassed in the outfield, but he sucked it up for the team. His reprieve came when Carlos Delgado got injured and Murphy was moved to first. He proved to be a decent defensive first baseman, and he led the team in home runs (albeit with just 12).
He was slated to be the starting first baseman in 2010, but he got injured in spring training. While he recovered Ike Davis claimed the job, so Murphy was sent to the minors to learn how to play second base. In just his second game he suffered a year-ending knee injury on an arguably dirty take-out slide while turning a double play.
So after all of this, after doing everything the Mets have asked of him, Murphy finds himself in a battle with a player who has never played in a major league game. If Emaus were clearly superior to Murphy then fine, give him the job. But he is not.
Emaus is only on the team because Mets assistant J.P. Ricciardi drafted him in 2007 when he was GM of the Blue Jays. In the 11th round, mind you. Ricciardi has high hopes for Emaus, thinks he can hit 15 homers a season and bat .270-.280. Where Ricciardi comes up with this I have no idea — Eamus hit 15 homers just once in four minor league seasons. He does have a decent on base percentage, which to Ricciardi and the rest of the sabermetricians in the front office means he is the second coming of Stan Musial.
Murphy has proven he can hit major league pitching. He deserves the job. Does loyalty count for nothing anymore?
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Date: March 24, 2011