You can read a couple of things into the Ike Davis demotion relating to Daniel Murphy.
One, there’s talk-show speculation Murphy was pressured by Davis’ presence and the possibility of him losing the position. Second, that the Mets still have faith in Murphy.
It’s the latter.
Jerry Manuel said Murphy is his first baseman, and it actually looks like that’s going to happen. For how long is another question.
With Murphy hitting below the Mendoza line this spring, and him not having much power to begin with, first base could be a black hole offensively for the team.
Murphy, at this stage of his career, is not a power hitter, but that’s not to say he can’t develop more power.
All along we’ve heard how the Mets rush some players and don’t have patience with others. Murphy has gone through a lot, enough to earn the Mets’ patience for now.
With David Wright ahead of him, Murphy, a natural third baseman was moved to another black hole, left field, at the end of the 2008 season.
He showed enough to where he was the starting left fielder last season, but it didn’t take. The Mets once considered him as a possible second baseman, but saddled with Luis Castillo’s contract, that didn’t work either.
So, it was on to first base a couple of months into last year, where Murphy played surprisingly well considering. The only problem is he doesn’t hit for the prototypical power of a first baseman.
But, he’s only 24 with one full season on his resume. But, after he settled in at first, he become more comfortable at the plate, made some adjustments, and hit .282. He also hit 38 doubles, which is an indication of some pop, and led the team with 12 homers.
Who knows? Maybe he’ll develop into a .300 hitter and hit 20 to 25 homers. It could happen.
But, if the season hinges on Murphy hitting for power, then the Mets are in big trouble anyway. Theoretically, they’ll get power from Wright, Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur. All should hit close to 30 homers.
If Murphy doesn’t, then so what?
Let’s take a look at this team. There are questions in the bullpen and the rotation has been horrid this spring. The Mets need a bounce-back year from Wright, and Beltran, and possibly Jose Reyes will open the season on the disabled list.
So, Murphy not hitting more than 20 homers seems to be low on the priority list.