With Daniel Murphy of the Nationals potentially on the trade block, the Yankees should set their sights directly on the veteran infielder.
Thursday’s loss against the Rays stung. The Yankees had their chances to pull ahead plenty of times. An overturned home run from Stanton. Three different batters coming to the plate with the bases loaded in the ninth inning down by two. But something hit Yankee fans harder than the 3-1 loss to the Rays.
Greg Bird’s locker was surrounded by reporters after the game. They asked several questions and Greg Bird’s answers were jarring at best. Bird told reporters that he was “just proud to be playing.” Bird’s boyish grin had an eerie resemblance to a grin that Yankee fans saw on Sonny Gray’s face as he was booed off of the mound and back to the dugout a few weeks ago.
The point is that the Yankees aren’t looking for guys who are proud to be playing, they are looking for guys who are proud to be winning. You only get this amount of talent on a team once every few decades. There are only so many options to replace Bird at the first base position but one name has been constantly popping up over the last few weeks. Daniel Murphy.
Who Is Daniel Murhpy?
Daniel Murphy was born in Jacksonville, Florida and began playing baseball at the age of five. He played for his high school team and was only offered a full scholarship by one school. Jacksonville University took Murphy onto their team and didn’t regret it. Murphy was regarded as an above average hitter but a below average fielder.
When he was asked to introduce himself instead of saying the usual (name and then position) he said “Hi, I’m Daniel Murphy and I bat third” obviously referring to his place in the order. Murphy played third base but also was slotted into the less defensively challenging right field during his play time in college. During his junior year, he won A-Sun Baseball Player of the Year while batting .398 batting average.
Murphy was picked by the Mets in 2006 and started to produce at the Major League level only 2 years later. Murphy came in and led the team in home runs the first year he came up. He also had a slash line of .313/.397/.473 in his first season. Murphy hit a sophomore slump making his batting average drop 50 points but Murphy continued to produce for the Mets over his 7-year tenure with them.
He went to the All-Star game once during his Mets career and earned his nickname during the 2015 postseason when he hit a home run in 6 consecutive games. Mets fans on Twitter started referring to Murphy as “This F***ing guy.” Honestly, a pretty awesome nickname to have.
After the Mets lost to the Royals in the 2015 World Series Murphy decided to to go to greener pastures as he signed a three year $37.5 million contract with the Washington Nationals. Murphy while not gaining the same postseason success he had in the 2015 season with the Mets, has been one of the most consistent players on the planet with the Nationals.
Two out of the three years he has been with the Nats he has gone to the All-Star game, those two years he also led the NL in doubles. In 2016, Murphy also led the league in slugging percentage and OPS.
Why Do The Yankees Need Murphy?
It’s a pretty clear-cut improvement over the current options. Current in clubhouse options include Greg Bird or Neil Walker. While I don’t hate the Neil Walker option, Murphy is clearly superior.
Murphy could slide into nearly any spot in the batting order. Without grabbing Machado or Harper the Yankees 2019 lineup could look like this: Murphy 1B, Judge RF, Didi SS, Stanton DH, Sanchez C, Hicks CF, Andujar 3B, Torres 2B, Gardner LF. That lineup is a sight for sore eyes when you consider the lineups we’ve had to deal with the last few weeks.
Let’s just compare side by side Greg Bird’s average stats over the last 3 years and Daniel Murphy’s average stats over the last 3 years.
Bird: .222 batting average, .312 on-base percentage, .446 slugging percentage, and a .758 OPS.
Murphy: .331 batting average, .381 on-base percentage, .554 slugging percentage, and a .937 OPS.
Not to mention how much his leadership would help the Yankees locker room. He has been the veteran leader of the Nationals for the past 3 years while Bird is “just proud to be playing.” Money shouldn’t be an object when it comes to getting free agents this off-season because of the luxury tax resetting (thank you, Cashman.)
It’s up to Cashman to make the move this offseason as Murphy hits the free agent market. A clear upgrade like this? How could you not throw this f***ing guy a contract to make him a Yankee for the next few years?