Oct 11

2013 Season Review: Daniel Murphy

MLB: New York Mets at Philadelphia Phillies

DANIEL MURPHY, 2B

PRESEASON EXPECTATIONS

As often has been the case with Daniel Murphy, expectations were moderate at best. If given the chance, the Mets would have replaced him, but with more pressing needs they spent their limited resources elsewhere so Murphy remained in the lineup. After several years of searching for a position, Murphy finally settled in at second base and has improved defensively. As a .290 lifetime hitter with limited power, Murphy was expected to get on base and be a table setter as opposed to being a run producer. Murphy’s lifetime 162-game average is .290 with ten homers, 70 RBI and a .333 on-base percentage. However, for his reputation for being a contact hitter, Murphy has averaged 81 strikeouts with just 38 walks, which isn’t a good ratio. One thing the Mets could expect from Murphy is durability, as he played in 156 games with 571 at-bats in 2012.

2013 SEASON REVIEW

Murphy played in 161 games and settled in as the No. 2 hitter with 113 games started batting second. However, he started games batting first through six, plus ninth in the order. With injuries throughout the lineup, Murphy was a consistent presence. Murphy posted career highs in at-bats (658), hits (188), runs scored (92), homers (13), RBI (78), total bases (273) and stolen bases (23). A strong case can be made for him being the Mets’ MVP. However, Murphy also struck out a career-high 95 times while drawing only 32 walks. For his reputation as being a patient hitter, Murphy only had a .319 on-base percentage. Murphy proved reliable in the clutch with a .354 average with runners in scoring position and two outs; .305 with the game tied; and .297 with the Mets within one run.

LOOKING AT 2014

John Delcos Says:

General manager Sandy Alderson, in listing the Mets’ offseason priorities, said he could live with Murphy at second base. With Murphy’s propensity for delivering in the clutch, if the Mets can’t add a power bat, they might go with Juan Lagares hitting second and drop Murphy to the middle of the order where he would be in more RBI situations. Murphy will never be mistaken for Roberto Alomar defensively, but is gradually improving, especially in turning the double play. With Murphy coming off his most productive season, he’ll go into spring training for the first time as an established player, and not fighting for a spot in the lineup. Conventional thinking dictates, as a player gets older and stronger, and more familiar with the pitchers, he should hit for more power. Murphy is a doubles machine – ideal for Citi Field – but it isn’t expected he’ll be a 20-homer hitter.

Joe D. Says:

As Ed Leyro recently wrote, Daniel Murphy had one of the greatest seasons ever recorded by a Mets second baseman in 2013.  He finished the year with a .286 batting average, 38 doubles, 13 homers, 78 RBI, 92 runs scored and 23 stolen bases.  Prior to Murphy, the only second basemen in franchise history to reach double digits in both home runs and RBI in the same season were Gregg Jefferies and Roberto Alomar.  But neither player matched Murphy’s totals in batting average, runs scored, runs batted in and stolen bases.  In fact, the only two players in team history who had better numbers than Murphy in all six offensive categories (batting average, doubles, home runs, RBI, runs scored, stolen bases), regardless of their defensive position, were Howard Johnson in 1989 (.287 average, 41 doubles, 36 HR, 101 RBI, 104 runs scored, 41 SB) and David Wright in 2007 (.325 average, 42 doubles, 30 HR, 107 RBI, 113 runs scored, 34 SB).

In a season that saw the 28-year old finish in the National League’s top ten in base hits, doubles, runs scored and even stolen bases, you would think Murphy’s job security with the Mets would be a slam dunk. However, given the pattern of this front office to sell high on any player who performs above major league replacement level, Murphy’s hold on second base is anything but certain. His name is often brought up as a potential trade chip this offseason by the mother ship, MetsBlog. That scares me.

Can you imagine how much worse this underwhelming offense would be without Murphy? They’ve already got their hands full trying to replace the 37 home runs from Marlon Byrd and John Buck, and if Murphy goes that will be 200+ RBIs the Mets will have to account for. In my opinion, any trade for Murphy will most likely create another gaping hole in the lineup and at best would be a lateral move that could possibly backfire. At some point we have to break this current cycle of shedding quality major leaguers not named David Wright for untested minor leaguers.

Jun 09

Matt Harvey, Mets Handle Injury Poorly; Wheeler’s Promotion Delayed

So much for Matt Harvey having composure beyond his years.

Harvey’s handling of his minor hip injury Saturday and the Mets’ subsequent response exceeds stupid on so many levels.

HARVEY: Leaves game with back tightness. (AP)

HARVEY: Leaves game with back tightness. (AP)

Harvey “tweaked’’ his back but didn’t tell anybody until after he singled in the seventh inning. So, he feels something is wrong, yet he still goes to the plate, where the act of swinging could do further damage?

There is no reason why he should be so reckless. His competitive nature is to be admired and respected, but his thinking here should be criticized. This is a June game with the Miami Marlins, and both teams aren’t going anywhere. There’s no good reason to take a risk.

Even worse, is the Mets letting him go out for his warm-up tosses after the inning before pulling him. Haven’t they learned when a pitcher has an injury that he’s supposed to be pulled immediately?

Any back or leg issue can lead to the altering of the mechanics and cause a residual effect on the arm.

Why take a chance?

And, please, the pitcher saying he’s fine is not an acceptable excuse.

Here’s hoping both Harvey and the Mets learned something.

Speaking of handling things poorly, Zack Wheeler’s “promotion’’ to the major leagues is being bungled.

After Wheeler’s lackluster effort Friday night, and opposing manager Howard Johnson’s lukewarm analysis, the Mets are delaying his debut.

Johnson, who knows a thing or two about pitching as he hammered it during his career with the Mets, did not give a high endorsement of Wheeler after watching him as the opposing team’s hitting coach.

The stuff is there, but the refinement is not.

There’s still work to be done, but the major leagues is not the place to do it. Wheeler needs more development, and to those who say promote him because the Mets are losing don’t get it. If he’s not ready, he won’t be doing much winning on this level.

Wheeler needs to be dominating in Triple-A and he clearly is not, and once he arrives it should be for good. But, I can’t see that now and the Mets are fooling themselves if they say he can.

Wheeler could become the star the Mets envision, but even if he does there will be games in which he takes his lumps. Why have him experience them now when he doesn’t have to?

It isn’t as if he’ll save a season that already looks lost.

Jul 22

Today in Mets’ History: A wild one in Cincy.

Every year produces one of those wild games where the box scores that scrawl down a quarter of the way down the paper and leaves the manager scratching his head for immediate solutions.

This day in 1986 generated one of those games in a 6-3 victory at Cincinnati in 14 innings. Gary Carter wound up at third base and both Jesse Orosco and Roger McDowell playing right field. McDowell also briefly played left field.

Manager Davey Johnson shuffled Orosco and McDowell, depending on the Reds’ hitter, in the 10th through the 13th innings. In fact, Orosco and McDowell batted back-to-back in the 14th inning.

The Mets won it on Howard Johnson’s three-run homer off Ted Power. Scoring ahead of him was Orosco, who had walked.

BOX SCORE

 

Jul 04

Today in Mets’ History: A wild one in Atlanta.

This game was like one of those car wrecks you seen on the highway. A rubberneck game, because once you started watching you couldn’t take your eyes off it.

And, you watched until 3:55 in the morning. Just in time to go out for breakfast, or, if you were in Atlanta on this day in 1985, you called the police because you thought your neighborhood near Fulton County Stadium was being attacked.

GORMAN: The game he'll never forget.

In arguably one of the most fascinating games in club history, and one of the wildest of all time, the Mets outlasted the Braves, 16-13, in 19 innings, a July 4 game featuring two rain delays; Keith Hernandez hitting for the cycle; seven players getting at least nine at-bat; the Braves tying the game twice in extra innings; Mets reliever Tom Gorman working six innings; and following the game a fireworks display that prompted a flood of emergency calls to the Atlanta police.

It all began with an all-day rain that delayed the game, and another one followed that forced Davey Johnson to pull Dwight Gooden from the game and replace him with Roger McDowell.

The early part of the game was non-descript as the Mets held, then blew a 7-4 lead behind Jesse Orosco, who gave up four runs in the eighth inning.

The Mets tied the game in the ninth on Lenny Dykstra’s RBI single scored Howard Johnson, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter and singled. Johnson would go on and have the unbelievable line of going 3-for-5 with four runs scored.

Johnson homered with a man on to give the Mets a two-run lead in the 13th inning, but the Braves rallied in the bottom of the inning on Terry Harper’s two-run homer off Tom Gorman.

The game continued to crawl into the late night, and five innings later the Mets scored again on pitcher Rick Camp’s throwing error. However, with the Braves down to their final out, Camp homered to tie the game.

VIDEO OF CAMP’S HOMER

The Mets finally got to Camp with five runs in the 19th inning, on run-scoring hits from Ray Knight, Danny Heep and Wally Backman. The win went to Gorman.

Ron Darling worked the 19th to close out the game, and the fireworks began at 4:01 a.m.

BOX SCORE THAT WOULDN’T END

 

Jul 28

Manuel goes to bat for coaching staff

MANUEL: It will all fall on him.

After several swirling days of finger-pointing, at the Mets’ listless offense and hitting coach Howard Johnson, manager Jerry Manuel did his own pointing.

And, fittingly, he directed it in the same direction Mets fans have for nearly two years – at himself.

Manuel looked in the mirror and went to bat for the beleaguered Johnson and his other restless coaches.

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