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Monday, August 08, 2011

Daniel Murphy out for the season after Mets infielder suffers Grade 2 tear of MCL in his left knee

Now, with all due sensitivity and discretion, bearing in mind the scope of the situation… I can’t help but think the Hospital for Special Surgery bears some responsibility to compensate the other, still living “victim” of this horrendous, horrendous tragedy.

Hobbling, and then writhing, in pain on the outfield grass just beyond second base, Daniel Murphy just wanted someone to help him get off the field.

Murphy was beyond upset after suffering what a source confirmed Sunday night is a Grade 2 tear of the MCL in his left knee, the latest serious injury in a young career marred by them. He is out for the season.

The versatile infielder was hurt while covering second base and being spiked by a sliding Jose Constanza in the seventh inning of a 6-5 loss to the Braves Sunday in which Jose Reyes also left with a hamstring injury…

Murphy began Sunday fifth in the NL in batting before nudging his average up to .320 with an infield single as a pinch-hitter in the sixth… After pinch-hitting, Murphy remained in the game in the seventh inning at second base. He replaced Willie Harris, who had come off the bench a few innings earlier when Justin Turner shifted to shortstop after Reyes was removed from the game with his injury.

Constanza drew a one-out walk and swiped second, but the follow-through of his slide forced his foot into the lower part of Murphy’s planted left leg. Collins, like several Mets, termed it “a clean slide,” but it was immediately evident that Murphy was seriously injured.

The District Attorney Posted: August 08, 2011 at 03:34 PM | 103 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. formerly dp Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:11 PM (#3895543)
Having Murphy hurt in the game sucks, having him hurt in the same game as Reyes stings even more. I think this pretty much ends any hopes they had of chasing the WC. I'm curious if this changes the position of Murphy-at-2B advocates on the board here. In the offseason, I suggested that, because of the chance of serious injury, it seemed like a mistake to put Murph at 2B. After he handled the position earlier in the year, I'd backed off of that opinion. But this is his second season-ending injury in two years that he has suffered while playing 2B, and it looks like he's valuable enough with the bat that he warrants being protected by playing him either at 1B, 3B, or giving him another shot at LF. Unfortunately, the Mets probably not the best fit for him with that defensive profile, unless they're intent on dealing Wright.

I was really enjoying his season, in spite of his myriad mistakes on the bases and in the field. With Beltran gone, he has been the team's second most valuable player behind Reyes.

Edit: And in case people haven't heard, Reyes will likely be out 2-3 weeks. I don't know if this makes the Mets more or less likely to resign him-- my gut says that anything keeping his counting stats down will force his asking price lower, which is a good thing, but the hamstring problems don't look to be subsiding anytime soon.
   2. Benji Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:18 PM (#3895548)
It sickens me too, because it seemed inevitable that he would get hurt there. I know the "you could get hit by a truck" theory but you get hurt when you put square pegs in round holes. A cursory look in spring training should have shown them you can't hide a bat at that position. He should have finished out the year at 1B and become Wright and Davis' caddy next year and top lefty PH. Now you might get nothing.
   3. formerly dp Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#3895551)
Now you might get nothing.

Even with this injury, Murphy's 2011 has been better than anyone (except Sam) could have hoped for. He played enough that his numbers don't look at all flukey, and I think the Mets could get something worthwhile for him if they shopped him this winter, whereas that wasn't the case last offseason.
   4. Lassus Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:24 PM (#3895552)
Benji, you cannot put a .320 hitter as a caddy and PH and consider yourself sane. 2B (or, with an off-season of serious work, RF) is the right spot, especially given the alternatives.
   5. The District Attorney Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3895556)
I definitely thought it was worth it to try Murph at 2B, and was willing to keep trying it even after one season-ending injury... but after two season-ending injuries, yup, let's stop.

I guess we could try him in RF (or him in LF and Bay in RF), but you go into it knowing that he's not going to produce typical corner OF power numbers, so he better do well with the glove... which hasn't exactly been the case for him out there so far. A trade is probably what makes the most sense, unfortunately.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:28 PM (#3895557)
If this another year-long recovery, I think you can just shelve talk about what Murphy's position is for the moment. Who knows who will be on the team in 2013?
   7. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:35 PM (#3895563)
Benji, you cannot put a .320 hitter as a caddy and PH and consider yourself sane. 2B (or, with an off-season of serious work, RF) is the right spot, especially given the alternatives.


I'm not convinced he's really a .320 hitter. Weird year with the bat: power, walks and strikeouts all way down. AVG way up. Not sure what to expect. I certainly wouldn't bank on him providing LF/1B quality offense.

And now we can affirm that he is officially injury-prone. He's still going to be pre-arbitration, I believe, so I think you just hold onto him for the moment and let him recover. You don't worry about needing to clear a position for him, or trading him, as he can't have much value right now.
   8. Lassus Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:35 PM (#3895564)
I definitely thought it was worth it to try Murph at 2B, and was willing to keep trying it even after one season-ending injury... but after two season-ending injuries, yup, let's stop.

Watch the play. WTF did Murphy do wrong? He was even behind the bag, using it as protection. Costanza had a miserable slide and simply came over it and landed on Murphy. Somehow saying "Let's stop" as if Murphy had some kind of control over this particular injury is pretty ridiculous.


And now we can affirm that he is officially injury-prone.

No. No, no, no. I've watched the play five times now. Tell me, I can be convinced I'm stupid, believe me; but how on earth is this injury Murphy's fault?
   9. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:36 PM (#3895569)
Benji, you cannot put a .320 hitter as a caddy and PH and consider yourself sane. 2B (or, with an off-season of serious work, RF) is the right spot, especially given the alternatives.

If he's a) not really a .320 hitter, probably more like a .290 hitter, b) doesn't walk much or hit for power and c) can only play in the corners, then that guy is probably a bench player.
   10. Sam M. Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:39 PM (#3895570)
They're saying it's a four-month recovery and no surgery. That strikes me as a best-case scenario, all things considered.

Unfortunately, the Mets probably not the best fit for him with that defensive profile, unless they're intent on dealing Wright.


You know, if I'm Daniel Murphy's agent, or his guardian angel, I think like that: what's best for his career? Where does he fit best to maximize his production, to show what he's capable of, so that he can eventually hit a decent (or better) payday when he, rather than the Mets, control his rights.

But if I'm Sandy Alderson, I don't think that way at all. I'm thinking that I'm going to keep him whether it's good for Daniel Murphy or not, because it's good for the Mets to have a player who is "too good for the role." That's generally how you win pennants, or at least contend for them: have some guys who are better than is typical for the roles they are performing. If one of those happens to be a hitting machine getting 400 or so PAs playing as much at 1B and 3B and the occasional game at 2B as Terry Collins can arrange, while getting a bunch of PH appearances, so be it. I trade him if and only if some other team values him more because of the fit issues than the Mets value him, such that everyone wins in a trade. If holding on to him happens, unfortunately, to be as bad for Daniel Murphy's long-term value as it is good for the Mets' chances of winning, so be it.

As for Reyes, this surely has to give some teams pause. If he's basically going to be a candidate to miss a month every year (even in a relatively "healthy" year where he doesn't have a "major" injury), then that creates serious issues in planning your roster. If Alderson were to decide that there is a limit to how much the Mets should bid, I imagine he could sell that with a straight face to the media hordes . . . depending of course on what that limit is. I still think the Mets are going to be in a position where they have to make a pretty serious play for Jose.
   11. formerly dp Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:40 PM (#3895573)
2B (or, with an off-season of serious work, RF) is the right spot, especially given the alternatives.

But putting him at 2B places your .320 hitter at a serious risk for not actually being able to play at all. This is 2 season-ending knee injuries in not a huge amount of innings at 2B. If Murphy really has morphed into a .320 hitter, 2B is the exact wrong place for him, given how hard a time he has getting clear on the double play.

I do agree that he's not a "caddy and PH" unless you're an AL team that can get him 500 PAs between 1b, 3B and DH. He has actually hit LHP pretty well too, so it's not even like he profiles as a platoon player.
   12. Lassus Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3895574)
If he's a) not really a .320 hitter, probably more like a .290 hitter, b) doesn't walk much or hit for power and c) can only play in the corners, then that guy is probably a bench player.

That a.) is an absolute if at this point. You thinking he's not that player doesn't make any more sense than me thinking he is. Honestly, given his progression, it seems to make less sense.

I know I'm the resident optimist, but you guys are talking about Murphy's ACTUAL GOOD numbers like they are actually bad numbers. Very Metsfan of all y'all.
   13. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:45 PM (#3895575)
And now we can affirm that he is officially injury-prone.

No. No, no, no. I've watched the play five times now. Tell me, I can be convinced I'm stupid, believe me; but how on earth is this injury Murphy's fault?


Lassus, I didn't say a word about it being his fault. Maybe it is in the sense that his body is just weak. Dude gets two season-ending injuries by age 26, and I consider him injury-prone. Maybe that's absolutely inaccurate, maybe he received two fluke blows that would do the same injury to Albert Pujols or Cal Ripken. But I prefer keeping my analysis simple here: guys gets injured a lot, hence, guy is injury-prone.
   14. formerly dp Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:48 PM (#3895578)
I trade him if and only if some other team values him more because of the fit issues than the Mets value him, such that everyone wins in a trade.

I agree with this, and I think that, with 400+ PAs this year of superior production, the likelihood of that happening is pretty high, as opposed to last winter, when his track record was a real mix of great and terrible.

The problem with holding him is that as a CI on a team with Davis and Wright, any scenario where Murphy gets 400 PAs is a bad one, as it means the team has once again lost one or both players for significant stretches of time. Continue playing him at 2B and you risk destroying his value entirely due to time lost from traumatic injury. I said this after the injury last year. No one knows if Murph had been playing 2B regularly all year if this injury would have happened, or if it came about because he has been playing 2B only sporadically since Turner's emergence, but this is now a recurring thing for him.
   15. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:49 PM (#3895579)
Fangraphs' rest of season projections (which I think are the closest we can get right now to an objective assessment of Murphy's "true talent") give the following:

.301/.351/.439

Basically they predict a mild reversal in his 2011 trends: more Ks, more BBs, more power, lower AVG. Overall the line is worse, but not that much worse, than his real numbers. 790 OPS is still pretty damn good, actually. Doesn't scream starting 1B at me, but it's too good for the bench, and lots of teams would be happy with that number this year.
   16. zack Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:52 PM (#3895584)
Watch the play. WTF did Murphy do wrong? He was even behind the bag, using it as protection.


Well I don't think I've ever seen a secondbaseman have his leg parallel to the ground like that before. It would've been fine if Costanza's leg hadn't popped off the bag directly into his leg, but it's not surprising at all that his MCL got thrashed when he was positioned like that.

If we're feeling out of the box, what about Murphy to 3B, Wright to LF? I don't know that Murph is the guy you move Wright for, but I'd prefer that to Murphy in left field.
   17. Lassus Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:52 PM (#3895585)
Maybe it is in the sense that his body is just weak. Dude gets two season-ending injuries by age 26, and I consider him injury-prone. Maybe that's absolutely inaccurate, maybe he received two fluke blows that would do the same injury to Albert Pujols or Cal Ripken. But I prefer keeping my analysis simple here: guys gets injured a lot, hence, guy is injury-prone.

I can certainly agree we have no idea the pounds per square inch that were put on his leg in that play to tear the MCL, and if it was less than what someone else in the same position could have taken.

Really, I feel way way WAY more comfortable pegging Reyes as injury-prone at this point, as his injury (and past ones) involved no one else.

I simply never like saying someone is injury-prone because other people have landed on him.
   18. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:56 PM (#3895590)

That a.) is an absolute if at this point. You thinking he's not that player doesn't make any more sense than me thinking he is. Honestly, given his progression, it seems to make less sense.


I agree it's an "if" - but it's also his career average (well, .292). I think the stats say he is likely to be closer to .290 than .320 going forward. The ROY ZiPs of .301 seems reasonable.
   19. formerly dp Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:58 PM (#3895592)
Somehow saying "Let's stop" as if Murphy had some kind of control over this particular injury is pretty ridiculous.

I referenced the Bill James article on Robbie Alomar over the winter, where James discusses avoiding injury on a slide as a skill for 2B. My point is that if you really think Murphy is a .320 hitter, it's worth protecting him by not playing him at a position where he has suffered season-ending knee injuries in each of the last 2 seasons, especially with Turner on the team looking like he might be an adequate 2B.

but you guys are talking about Murphy's ACTUAL GOOD numbers like they are actually bad numbers.

Yeah, that's crazy. Murphy has had a great season. If Davis were healthy, we don't know if he'd be hitting any better (yeah, I know that's a heretical thing to say, but whatever). But again, if you're really taking .320/.360/.450 seriously, I think that's a bat you try to protect.
   20. Sam M. Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:59 PM (#3895593)
any scenario where Murphy gets 400 PAs is a bad one, as it means the team has once again lost one or both players for significant stretches of time. Continue playing him at 2B and you risk destroying his value entirely due to time lost from traumatic injury.


I don't agree with this. I think a good manager gets a utility player like Murphy 400 PAs, or damn close, without breaking a sweat. In fact, I think it is the best thing in the world for a manager to work in his best bench players liberally so that the starters get enough rest to stay sharp throughout the long season. When you have an asset like Daniel Murphy, you can give him a good 50 starts a year between 1b and 3b, enabling Davis and Wright to take 25 games off each (in some of which, of course, they'll each come on to pinch-hit as needed). That's going to be around 250 PA's right there. Then with lots of pinch-hitting and the occasional duty at 2B (which I certainly wouldn't rule out, but I take it you would), you're going to get awfully close to 400.
   21. Greg K Posted: August 08, 2011 at 07:59 PM (#3895595)
No. No, no, no. I've watched the play five times now. Tell me, I can be convinced I'm stupid, believe me; but how on earth is this injury Murphy's fault?

I think the argument is that if you injure your knee like that once, (even by fluke) you are a lot more likely to injure it again. And more so again two times.

Also, I don't know that much about 2B positioning but is planting your leg and stretching it out behind the back like a catcher blocking the plate really standard operating procedure? I was always taught to come in infront of the bag on a SB, catch and swipe tag down.* (Of course, it was a really awkward slide, I don't think there was a reasonable expectation that the runner would be flying over it like that)

*I'm fully open to correction, there's a very good chance I was taught improperly or just plain misunderstood.
   22. formerly dp Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:01 PM (#3895597)
Really, I feel way way WAY more comfortable pegging Reyes as injury-prone at this point, as his injury (and past ones) involved no one else.

Murph has been hurt on the same play twice. I wouldn't say that makes him injury-prone, I'd say that means he shouldn't be playing the position that requires him to make that play. Guys make hard and/or inappropriate slides all of the time, which is why playing 2B (and less so SS) is so physically demanding.
   23. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:02 PM (#3895598)
I simply never like saying someone is injury-prone because other people have landed on him.


The other thing, Lassus, is that even if the initial injuries were not in any way his fault, the fact that he sustained those injuries can't do much for his future health/endurance/flexibility/etc.

(Or what GregUK said)
   24. formerly dp Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:09 PM (#3895602)
I don't agree with this. I think a good manager gets a utility player like Murphy 400 PAs, or damn close, without breaking a sweat.

I agree with your premise about resting good players liberally, and having a strong player on the bench allows you to do that, but if Murphy's a .320 hitter, the best spot for him is in the lineup somewhere, not on the bench waiting to PH. If he's a 120 OPS+ hitter, he should be in LF and Jason Bay should be on the bench. Yeah, it'll produce some highlight-reel bad plays, but if it keeps him actually able to take the field, it might be worth the cost.
   25. Lassus Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:11 PM (#3895605)
Also, I don't know that much about 2B positioning but is planting your leg and stretching it out behind the back like a catcher blocking the plate really standard operating procedure? I was always taught to come in infront of the bag on a SB, catch and swipe tag down.*

Well I don't think I've ever seen a secondbaseman have his leg parallel to the ground like that before.

His left leg wasn't stretched, he was kneeling on it to brace himself as he reached for the throw in front of him - this lessened the angle of the knee before he was hit, but it was never straight. I am unsure of what better position there is for Murphy there, once the bag is between him and the runner and he has to reach for the ball. I mean that truthfully, I don't know, my point is not that he was playing some kind of Alomar-level catch there. I'll freely admit we have no idea if Murphy got hit hard enough to break the Hulk's leg or he's simply weak. I just don't think that play belongs in the "he's incompetent so now he's hurt" category, that's all.
   26. The District Attorney Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:15 PM (#3895607)
Costanza had a miserable slide and simply came over it and landed on Murphy.
This was supposed to be the summer of Murphy! Summer of Murphy!!!

Look, I did see the play, but I don't really have a feel for what percentage of 2B would have been able to get out of the way on that specific play. I'm not even sure how you would determine that. I feel like it'd be a large percentage, but I obviously can't prove that. Maybe I am superstitious. I do know that this is the exact injury that you're worried about an inexperienced (and clumsy to begin with) 2B incurring, and that it's happened twice now.

I suppose it also depends on how Murphy himself feels about the matter. If he doesn't want to do it anymore -- or is dying to prove he can -- that'd certainly make a big difference.

If one of those happens to be a hitting machine getting 400 or so PAs playing as much at 1B and 3B and the occasional game at 2B as Terry Collins can arrange, while getting a bunch of PH appearances, so be it.
If he's not going to be playing much 2B or any OF, then he's not going to get 400 AB unless one of Ike/Wright gets hurt. (EDIT: I see since I started writing this that Sam has responded to this point. My response is that I don't want them to sit 25 games each if they're perfectly healthy. ;-)

Now, it's not crazy to keep Murph around even if he doesn't have a set starting position. As Sam alludes to, it's not like we're obligated to let him start just because it would be better for his own career. And he's displayed an excellent attitude, so I don't think we have to worry about him pouting. Ultimately, it all depends on what we could get for him if we did trade him. I am assuming that someone would be willing to give up the haul you'd expect to get for a decent young starting 3B, because that's what he looks like to me. But, what do I know. If you can't get that, then sure, keep him.
   27. Harveys Wallbangers Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:19 PM (#3895611)
I feel for the lad. He keeps trying to carve out a MLB career and the Fates have been unkind.
   28. Sam M. Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:22 PM (#3895614)
If he's a 120 OPS+ hitter, he should be in LF and Jason Bay should be on the bench. Yeah, it'll produce some highlight-reel bad plays, but if it keeps him actually able to take the field, it might be worth the cost.


This idea caused me to have flashbacks and they are now carting me off to rehab, where I'll be spending the next six to eight weeks having to once again overcome the awful effects of having been exposed once to the psychedelic trip that is Daniel Murphy in the outfield.


Go Ask Daniel

One fall makes you larger
And one drop makes you small
And the ones that Sandy gives you
Don't do anything at all
Go ask Daniel
When he’s ten feet tall

And if you go chasing liners
And you know you're going to fall
Tell them a hookah smoking caterpillar has given you the call
Call Daniel
When he was just small

When other men in the outfield
have to go get the ball for you
And you just had some kind of mushroom
And your mind is moving slow
Go ask Daniel
I think he'll know

When logic and proportion
Have fallen sloppy dead
And the shortstop is talking backwards
And Pagan says "Off with his head!"
Remember what Todd Hundley said

He could catch!
He could catch!
   29. formerly dp Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:32 PM (#3895624)
#28: awesome.
   30. Conor Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:35 PM (#3895625)
If he's not going to be playing much 2B or any OF, then he's not going to get 400 AB unless one of Ike/Wright gets hurt. (EDIT: I see since I started writing this that Sam has responded to this point. My response is that I don't want them to sit 25 games each if they're perfectly healthy. ;-)


Yeah, I think getting 25 games off for Wright and Davis is too much. (Obviously, this assumes they are otherwise healthy, which I believe is the point of this). In 05 Wright played 160 games, in 06 154, in 07 and 08 he played 160 games, in 10 he played 157 games. He played 144 games in 09, but he was also on the DL. So when he is available to play, he basically will play every single game. If you want to say going forward, since he's getting a little older, maybe he should sit a little more, I could see that to a small extent, but if David Wright is available for 162 games, then I'm starting him in no fewer than 154-155.

Pretty much the same for Davis, though even more of the case. Davis has basically started every game since he got called up that he was available for. If you want to sit him a little more thna that, fine, but I'm not playing him 137 games a year. And since Murph hits lefty as well, you can't really use him to sit Ike against tough lefties. I'm not sitting 2 of my better hitters anywhere close to 20-25 games a year (especially at the ages Wright and Davis are) to rest them.

Murph definitely has value, but I agree that if he gets 400 PA something has gone wrong. Which is fine, you need guys like that. I think he demonstrated his value pretty well this year; the Mets lost both corner guys for a while but they were able to hang in there in part because Murphy was able to replicate that production pretty well. If the Mets were a better team, Murph might have been a hero for keeping the Mets in the race after losing Davis for the season. But obviously they aren't ready for that.

And the longer he went in the season hitting like this, the more you have to think he's legit at something close to this level. Which means, to me, the Mets may need to look into trading him. Not for sure, but if someone is willing to give them a starter at a position they don't have filled, I think you need to look into that. And if you can't, then no big deal, you have a pretty good insurance policy at either position. I don't think you can count on him to play 2B or a corner OF spot, so as long as Wright and Davis are around, he's probably a bench player.
   31. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:41 PM (#3895630)
I have been optimistic about Wright's fielding since he was a rookie, and I'm not ready to give up quite yet, but I'm now imagining a world in which it makes sense to move him to LF. He hasn't improved, and he might be getting worse. He still makes as many bad nervous throws as he ever did.

Unfortunately, I don't think that Murphy would be an improvement at third base.
   32. Sam M. Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:47 PM (#3895633)
I think getting 25 games off for Wright and Davis is too much. (Obviously, this assumes they are otherwise healthy, which I believe is the point of this). In 05 Wright played 160 games, in 06 154, in 07 and 08 he played 160 games, in 10 he played 157 games. He played 144 games in 09, but he was also on the DL.


I don't know, I guess I believe in a system in which "using the whole roster" is not just lip service, but has real meaning. If you build and possess a strong enough bench, one of the real values of that is that you are in a position where your best (i.e., starting) players don't have to play 155-160 games a year. It can be an enormous advantage come July and August -- when it's usually hot as hell and players wear down from the schedule -- if your guys are more rested than their guys. David Wright was playing all those games because Omar Minaya gave Randolph and Manuel suck-ass bench players, and the Mets suffered a big fall-off if he wasn't in the line-up.

My model is the 1980s Mets. Their benches were bolstered by the platooning that Davey Johnson did, which I know isn't in vogue nowadays because of the larger pitching staffs. But he had so much flexibility in how he was willing to, and did, use his roster that it kept that whole team fresh when other teams wore down. If David Wright starts 140 or so games a year, and pinch hits in another 10-12, that would be plenty. But it takes having a Daniel Murphy to take his place in those 20-25 games to be able to give him that rest.

It's a luxury, I admit. And if you can trade out that luxury for a necessity, fine. But I'm pretty sure that no one is going to make that deal until/unless Murphy proves himself healthy next spring, so at the very least we're going to have to put this discussion on pause until then.
   33. bunyon Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:50 PM (#3895635)
They're saying it's a four-month recovery and no surgery.

That's just the standard protocol for season ending injuries on the Mets: wait 4-6 months, then do surgery.



I simply never like saying someone is injury-prone because other people have landed on him.

People have a tendency to land on catchers, shortstops and second basemen. If you can't take it (and few can), you shouldn't be there permanently. His positioning wasn't outlandishly bad, but was unusual. The slide wasn't outlandishly bad, but was unusual and not graceful. But, in the end, if you can't take a hit like that without breaking and you can't avoid hits like that by being quick and one step ahead, you need to be at 1B or the outfield. Or pitching.

It isn't quite as extreme, but a RB who can't take a hit without getting injured is definitely injury prone. He's going to get hit, so he has to be able to take it.

I certainly feel for Met fans and Murphy and Reyes. Two young homegrown guys having very good to great years as a 2B/SS pair and they both get knocked out. It's a shame for any baseball fan.
   34. Enrico Pallazzo Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:51 PM (#3895638)
Wow. I JUST traded away Murphy for Felix Hernandez in my league. The trade was finalized Monday morning. Tough luck to the other guy who happens to be just ahead of me in the standings.
   35. formerly dp Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:54 PM (#3895640)
But I'm pretty sure that no one is going to make that deal until/unless Murphy proves himself healthy next spring, so at the very least we're going to have to put this discussion on pause until then.

Showing the knee is healed shouldn't be difficult-- if it's a 5 month window, he'll be improving over the winter. I have no idea what his value is, but I'd have to think it's decent. The Mets don't have a ton of need to upgrade their lineup (unless they're pushing Bay to the bench and/or losing Reyes), but they need relief help badly. I could see Murphy used to bring in a power arm.
   36. The District Attorney Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:56 PM (#3895641)
I JUST traded away Murphy for Felix Hernandez in my league.
You did what, now?
   37. Sam M. Posted: August 08, 2011 at 08:59 PM (#3895642)
Showing the knee is healed shouldn't be difficult-- if it's a 5 month window, he'll be improving over the winter.


If I'm a rival GM, there is no way I trade for Daniel Murphy over the winter. I wait for spring to see how the knee looks in Floria. The only exception is if I think I can swoop in and get Murphy on the cheap because of the injury -- which is exactly why, if I'm Alderson, there's no way I make a deal now. He'd be selling damaged goods, which puts him in a position where he's selling low.

If trading Murphy makes sense, I have to believe the "when" is spring training, and the "what" would be for either pitching help (as you suggest) or a middle infielder.
   38. formerly dp Posted: August 08, 2011 at 09:19 PM (#3895649)
If I'm a rival GM, there is no way I trade for Daniel Murphy over the winter. I wait for spring to see how the knee looks in Floria.

Players get hurt and heal all of the time. If this is a normal injury with a normal recovery timetable, and rehab is progressing as expected, there's no reason not to make a deal over the winter, after you've talked to Murphy's doctors and confirmed the knee is healing well. Again, Murphy's season makes him a real commodity. If the Mets start 2011 with him as a bench player, that shine comes off rather quickly.

I don't think they could get anything for Murphy that would be an upgrade on Turner, but maybe I'm being pessimistic.

Tejada has been horrible at AAA since heading back down, but the upside of the Reyes injury is that we get another 3 weeks to see what he can/can't do.
   39. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 08, 2011 at 09:24 PM (#3895651)
Wow. I JUST traded away Murphy for Felix Hernandez in my league.

I think Sandy Alderson has his solution.
   40. Sam M. Posted: August 08, 2011 at 09:27 PM (#3895652)
Wow. I JUST traded away Murphy for Felix Hernandez in my league.

I think Sandy Alderson has his solution.


See? That was pre-injury. Trade him now, and you get this guy.
   41. Dog on the sidewalk Posted: August 08, 2011 at 09:34 PM (#3895655)
If he can stay on the field, it seems Murphy's value to the Mets is at 2B. Most of us agree that we'd all be better off if we never see him in the outfield again, so Daniel Murphy as a utility player would be getting a huge chunk of his ABs at 2B anyway. Wright and Davis just aren't going to sit more than ~10 games if they're both healthy all year. No scenario for 2012 that I can picture where Daniel Murphy gets at least 400 PAs doesn't include either Murphy playing a ton of 2B or season-crippling injuries to Wright or Davis.

So I think I'd just put him back at second and hope for the best. The idea of trying Davis or Wright in the outfield is interesting to me. It doesn't seem very likely though.
   42. Something Other Posted: August 08, 2011 at 10:10 PM (#3895675)
Awful, awful, awful.

Also, it's one of the things that happens when you put a player who is Not Nimble at a position requiring lightness of foot. I was in the minority last year when I wrote that Murphy's unfamiliarity with the position significantly contributed to his suffering a season ending injury 48 hours after starting to play the position. A similar thing happened here. Murphy arranged himself perpendicularly to the baserunner (bad) and set his knee on the ground (very bad), dramatically increasing the chance that a less than crisp slide would hurt him and hurt him badly. Canny 2bmen don't make of themselves stationary targets. We see that kind of stumble-slide all the time, where the runner goes over the bag. If that kind of slide inevitably hurt 2bmen we'd see three major injuries a week.

Having Murphy hurt in the game sucks, having him hurt in the same game as Reyes stings even more. I think this pretty much ends any hopes they had of chasing the WC.
Shirley, you jest. The Mets were barely hanging in, had all kinds of good fortune, then traded their best hitter and best reliever. Even with Beltran and Frankie around, and Reyes having a career year, and Gee having a career year, and Capuano's ressurection from the dead, they were enormously unlikely to have had a shot at the wild card. The bell has tolled on the Mets' season, but Murphy's injury wasn't the bellringer

...and it looks like he's valuable enough with the bat that he warrants being protected by playing him either at 1B, 3B, or giving him another shot at LF. Unfortunately, the Mets probably not the best fit for him with that defensive profile, unless they're intent on dealing Wright.
Yup. Well, it wouldn't matter if he was .250/.300/.350 for his career, he's not a 2bman. He's Not Nimble.

Edit: And in case people haven't heard, Reyes will likely be out 2-3 weeks. I don't know if this makes the Mets more or less likely to resign him-- my gut says that anything keeping his counting stats down will force his asking price lower, which is a good thing, but the hamstring problems don't look to be subsiding anytime soon.
The rumors in TFA say the Mets aren't willing to meet Reyes' ask in years or $$$, in which case they were fabulously stupid for not dealing him when his value was at its peak.

The hamstring probably doesn't help the Mets cause any. If it lowers his price it also lowers his value. I suspect one of the things the Mets DON'T need is an injury prone star, one who's a favorite to miss two of the next six seasons.

It sickens me too, because it seemed inevitable that he would get hurt there. I know the "you could get hit by a truck" theory but you get hurt when you put square pegs in round holes. A cursory look in spring training should have shown them you can't hide a bat at that position. He should have finished out the year at 1B and become Wright and Davis' caddy next year and top lefty PH. Now you might get nothing.
As someone else said, though, there's no reason to move him. Both Wright and Davis are showing themselves to be less than iron men. If Murphy comes back healthy next season you get him 100 PAs at 3b, 100 PAs at 1B, 75 PAs as an emergency OFer, and 75 PAs as a PHer. There's nothing wrong with having a corner sub and ph'er who just might put up a .300 average with moderate power. And if you lose your regular at a corner for a month or two, you have a more than capable backup. If next season Murphy hits .320 in 373 PAs and someone offers you a goody, planning to make him a regular, sure, you do that deal. Otherwise, you have one of the better backups in the league. What's wrong with that?
   43. Elvis Posted: August 08, 2011 at 10:29 PM (#3895685)
I don't think they could get anything for Murphy that would be an upgrade on Turner, but maybe I'm being pessimistic


Justin Turner has a .701 OPS as a 26-year old in his first taste of regular playing time in the majors. B-Ref dWAR has him at -0.6, DRS has him at -6 at 2B and -3 at 3B and UZR/150 has him at -6.8 at 2B and -0.1 at 3B. I think it's fair to say that he's not an asset defensively.

Murphy is the same age, has about 2.5 times as many PA in the majors as Turner with a career .784 OPS and has positive DRS and UZR/150 numbers this year at both 1B and 3B.

A .784 OPS would be the eighth-best mark for a full-time 3B in the majors this year. Meanwhile, a .701 OPS is the 14th-best mark for 2B.

Third base was Murphy's position in the minors and presumably he would not be as injury-prone there as he has been at 2B.

I don't know if there's any team that needs a 3B that would be able to trade a 2B for Murphy. But if there is, he certainly should bring back a better player than Turner.
   44. Conor Posted: August 08, 2011 at 10:40 PM (#3895700)
I don't know, I guess I believe in a system in which "using the whole roster" is not just lip service, but has real meaning. If you build and possess a strong enough bench, one of the real values of that is that you are in a position where your best (i.e., starting) players don't have to play 155-160 games a year. It can be an enormous advantage come July and August -- when it's usually hot as hell and players wear down from the schedule -- if your guys are more rested than their guys. David Wright was playing all those games because Omar Minaya gave Randolph and Manuel suck-ass bench players, and the Mets suffered a big fall-off if he wasn't in the line-up.


That sounds good, but did it manifest itself? Wright's career OPS by month:

April: 857
May: 889
June: 958
July: 873
August: 898
Sep: 892

His worst month is April, his best month is June, and the other 4 months are all pretty much the same.

So I disagree that Wright was playing all those games because the bench sucked; he was playing all those games because he's an awesome player and he could do it. No matter who is on the bench, they're not going to be better than Wright. In 2007 he played 160 games, and his best 2 months were August and September. In 2008 he played 160 games and September was his second best month, while July was best, with April and August basically identical. Those were 2 years where the Mets were in a race down the stretch, he was playing every day, and he didn't wear down at all.

If you've got a player who constantly struggles in the latter months of the year, then sure, I can certainly see the argument. But there's no way I'm sitting Wright that much unless I have to. He's shown he's perfectly capable of playing every day and maintaining his performance.

And furthermore, there's a difference between 155-160 games and 25 games off. 25 games off is 137 games; I don't see how the Mets could possibly justify playing (starting) a fully healthy David Wright only 137 games. Wright will be 29 next year. Maybe he shouldn't be playing 160 games. But definitely not 137. Like I said, 155 I think is fair, if not more.

My model is the 1980s Mets. Their benches were bolstered by the platooning that Davey Johnson did, which I know isn't in vogue nowadays because of the larger pitching staffs. But he had so much flexibility in how he was willing to, and did, use his roster that it kept that whole team fresh when other teams wore down. If David Wright starts 140 or so games a year, and pinch hits in another 10-12, that would be plenty.


I'm a little too young to remember them, so I'm more going off baseball reference here, but in 87 Strawberry played 154 games (149 starts), in 88 he played 153 (149 starts), in 90 he played 152 (146 starts). It looks like in 86, when he started 127 games, he didn't go to the DL, but there seemed to be some minor aches that were keeping him out out of the lineup for 2-3 games here and there. Ditto 1989.

It's not like Davey Johnson was holding a healthy Strawberry out of the lineup 25 games a year. (Just picking Strawberry because he was probably the Mets best position player in that era.)

Gary Carter started 131 games in 1986 as a 32 year old catcher for a team that won the division by a million games. I do not think Davey would have only started a 28 year old David Wright only 5 or 6 more games than that if he had him. The next year, he started 133 games. (Ed Hearn was the backup catcher that year and actually had a 98 OPS+, believe it or not). Keith was 32, and he started 146 games.

In looking at the 87 page, HoJo is probably a perfect comp for David. He was 26 years old in 1987, and put up a 133 OPS+. Wright has a career OPS+ of 135. In 87, the 26 year old HoJo started 153 games.

This is pretty long winded, but the point is, even using the 80's Mets as a model, under that model, David Wright is starting 155 games, give or take a few.

"As someone else said, though, there's no reason to move him. Both Wright and Davis are showing themselves to be less than iron men. "

I may have to disagree with this, at least in regards to Wright. The back injury isn't supposed to be recurring. He's had 2 DL stints in his career, the back injury, and the concussion from getting beaned. He really does play every day. But I don't disagree with the main point; if you can't get a starter at a position of need, hold onto Murph.
   45. Lassus Posted: August 08, 2011 at 11:05 PM (#3895726)
Murphy, our bench player, was 5th in the NL in BA when he went down.
   46. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2011 at 11:25 PM (#3895744)
Not gonna lie: I'm looking forward to a guaranteed draft pick.
   47. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2011 at 11:33 PM (#3895752)
Murphy, our bench player, was 5th in the NL in BA when he went down.


Lassus, what's your plan for the guy?
   48. PreservedFish Posted: August 08, 2011 at 11:53 PM (#3895774)
According to Cohen, only a week ago Murphy expressed to Collins that he wanted to concentrate on 2B in the future.
   49. bobm Posted: August 09, 2011 at 12:10 AM (#3895789)
[33] That's just the standard protocol for season ending injuries on the Mets: wait 4-6 months, then do surgery.

That's what makes it Special surgery.
   50. formerly dp Posted: August 09, 2011 at 12:13 AM (#3895791)
I don't know if there's any team that needs a 3B that would be able to trade a 2B for Murphy. But if there is, he certainly should bring back a better player than Turner.

That's fine in theory-- in reality, who will trade an above-average 2B for a (injury-prone, even if we don't agree with the label) slightly-above-average 3B? You need to find a team with two good secondbasemen, where neither is capable of shifting to 3B.
   51. formerly dp Posted: August 09, 2011 at 12:19 AM (#3895792)
The Mets were barely hanging in, had all kinds of good fortune, then traded their best hitter and best reliever. Even with Beltran and Frankie around, and Reyes having a career year, and Gee having a career year, and Capuano's ressurection from the dead, they were enormously unlikely to have had a shot at the wild card. The bell has tolled on the Mets' season, but Murphy's injury wasn't the bellringer

Until the last week, they looked like they were in it. I wasn't putting money on them, and neither was Alderson, but they were till close. The Braves series, the bullpen, and the disappearance of the offense over the last week clearly hurt them. Both, as you point out, are linked to the deadline deals, but those deals in and of themselves didn't seal their fate.

The rumors in TFA say the Mets aren't willing to meet Reyes' ask in years or $$$, in which case they were fabulously stupid for not dealing him when his value was at its peak.

I think the Mets will make a strong offer, and I don't think the hamstring injury will change that. I don't think the offer will be strong enough, but I don't think they've written him off as gone yet. Tejada's downward spiral since his callup earlier really makes the case for bringing Reyes back stronger-- right now, he doesn't even look like a capable stopgap at SS.
   52. Sam M. Posted: August 09, 2011 at 12:28 AM (#3895799)
You need to find a team with two good secondbasemen, where neither is capable of shifting to 3B.


Just to expand on that: a "two good secondbasemen" could mean a team with a youngish veteran but also a kid coming up that they are willing (or want to) turn the position over to (either because the prospect is very good and they need to find a place for him, or because of cost considerations -- maybe the youngish veteran is starting to get a bit expensive in his second or third arb year). It's certainly not impossible that you could find a fit with the right organization.
   53. formerly dp Posted: August 09, 2011 at 12:49 AM (#3895832)
It's certainly not impossible that you could find a fit with the right organization.

Nothing's impossible. But I can't think of a team in that situation right now, OTH. "Better than Turner" means that the player coming over is relatively cheap too, because I don't think the Mets are going to add salary when they deal Murphy, especially not for a player who is only a marginal upgrade on Turner. I think Turner's the definition of a stopgap-- not someone you can't bump if a better player comes along, but not a guy who will kill you if you run him out there every day. Obviously, I'd prefer to have a .320 hitting Murphy at 2B, but it really looks like that's a fantasy at this point.

If Duda's going to play 1B, I really hope this doesn't mean Willie Harris plays RF against righties for the rest of the season.
   54. Elvis Posted: August 09, 2011 at 12:49 AM (#3895835)
That's fine in theory-- in reality, who will trade an above-average 2B for a (injury-prone, even if we don't agree with the label) slightly-above-average 3B?


If you want to say he's injury prone, it's hard to argue with that right now. But what I take exception to is the "slightly-above-average" part. I see four teams that appear to be set with a better option than Murphy at 3B -- Rangers, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, and Rays. I'm sure there's that many teams who think they have someone just as good. And I'm sure there's that many with someone in the minors they want to give a chance to at 3B. That still leaves more than half the teams in the league that Murphy would be an upgrade for.

We saw what having multiple teams in the bidding for two months of Carlos Beltran did for his trade value. Forget about half the teams - I just don't see how if there's three or more teams interested in acquiring a young hitter with Murphy's established level of production that he wouldn't bring back something better than Justin Turner. Perhaps the player does not play 2B, but his overall value should easily exceed what Turner has given the club this year.
   55. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2011 at 01:35 AM (#3895940)
Lassus, what's your plan for the guy?

My plan WAS winter league 2B and then the 2B job. Much in the way he has shown he had what it took to develop his hitting skills, I think he can certainly develop 2B skills. It's not brain surgery, and he is a sharp kid. Now? It would be the same, if he's actually better by then, but WTF knows?
   56. Famous Original Joe C Posted: August 09, 2011 at 01:42 AM (#3895963)
Murphy, our bench player, was 5th in the NL in BA when he went down.

The more I think about it, I guess he can start at 1B with that ROY ZiPs - but he's just not someone who really pushes you forward, unless he really is a .320 hitter or the walks and power come back. That's a package more or less equivalent in value to 2010 Ike Davis, only without the upside.

You would put him back at 2B?
   57. SM Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:00 AM (#3895995)
I see four teams that appear to be set with a better option than Murphy at 3B -- Rangers, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, and Rays.


Ok, maybe you think A-Rod is almost done. I'd certainly take him over Murphy, but fine. But you're saying you think Murphy is a better option at 3b than Ryan Zimmerman? Or Pablo Sandoval?

And who on the Diamondbacks is their better option at 3b? Ryan Roberts? I'd take Murphy over him.
   58. Conor Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:08 AM (#3896007)
The more I think about it, I guess he can start at 1B with that ROY ZiPs - but he's just not someone who really pushes you forward, unless he really is a .320 hitter or the walks and power come back. That's a package more or less equivalent in value to 2010 Ike Davis, only without the upside.

You would put him back at 2B?


I really don't see any way the Mets can go into the season with Murphy as option 1 at second base. I really don't think he's going to be able to hack it defensively there. I guess if you want to run with Turner as your starter, and then give Murphy every chance to show he can do it, that's ok, but I don't see him as a 2B at the major league level.

Murphy has a career 109 RC+ now. Does anyone know if fangraphs has league averages RC+ for the various positions? Also, with a 124 this year, he's third among third basemen in RC+. (I guess fangraphs is usingthe 3.1 PA per game to qualify, since Wright doesn't.) The glove isn't great at third base, but you look at some of the guys, could Murphy be one of the 10 best 3b? Of guys who qualify, Alberto Callapso is 10th in RC+. Doesn't include Wright, Zimmerman, etc.

But I would have to think Murph could at least be in the top half of ML 3B.

It'll be interesting to see how Sandy and co handle both Murphy and Duda. Both guys I think can be solid hitters (though I admit I may be jumping the gun a bit with Duda) but their best position is 1B. At this point, Murphy is a guy who could probably start for a lot of teams, whereas Duda is probably more of a bench bat at this point.
   59. JJ1986 Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:09 AM (#3896009)
There are only a few places where I can see Murphy as a regular 3Bmen next year. Detroit, Colorado, maybe Oakland, Florida if the Mets would trade him there.
   60. formerly dp Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:12 AM (#3896011)
I see four teams that appear to be set with a better option than Murphy at 3B -- Rangers, Red Sox, Diamondbacks, and Rays.

Clearly better or even (mix of performance and pedigree here, just teams who would be actively looking to upgrade): Giants (Panda), Indians (Chisenhall), Yankees (The Rod), Jays (Lawrie/Bautista), Cubs (Ramizez), Nats (Zimmerman, unless the throwing problems don't subside), Cards (Freese), Bucs (Alvarez), the Pads (Headley), Brewers have McGehee, who has a better track record than Murph but is having a terrible year. It's hard to say where he'd rank among 3B without knowing how good his defense there is. If you're going to expect value back, you've got to find a team willing to bank on him succeeding as a 3B and as a hitter; he has shown the latter more than the former.

I just don't see how if there's three or more teams interested in acquiring a young hitter with Murphy's established level of production that he wouldn't bring back something better than Justin Turner. Perhaps the player does not play 2B, but his overall value should easily exceed what Turner has given the club this year.

I think our wires are getting crossed here. Like last year, it's hard to say what his value is, just as it's hard to say what his "established" level of production is. But I don't think anyone deals a very good 2B for Murphy, unless that player is also expensive. Murphy's a clearly better player than Turner, but that doesn't mean his trade value is a 2B significantly better than Turner.
   61. Conor Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:20 AM (#3896017)
Clearly better or even (mix of performance and pedigree here, just teams who would be actively looking to upgrade): Giants (Panda), Indians (Chisenhall), Yankees (The Rod), Jays (Lawrie/Bautista), Cubs (Ramizez), Nats (Zimmerman, unless the throwing problems don't subside), Cards (Freese), Bucs (Alvarez), the Pads (Headley), Brewers have McGehee, who has a better track record than Murph but is having a terrible year. It's hard to say where he'd rank among 3B without knowing how good his defense there is. If you're going to expect value back, you've got to find a team willing to bank on him succeeding as a 3B and as a hitter; he has shown the latter more than the former.


Yeah. His natural position was 3B, so you'd think his glove was at least ok there, but he really didn't play enough there to make that call.

On McGehee though; he has a career RC+ of 102 compared to 109 for Murphy. I know it isn't quite that simple, since McGehee has put up a
full season (157 games) of real good production while Murphy hasn't done that yet. But McGeehee has been sooo bad this year (71 RC+!).

I said a few posts ago that I think Murphy would rank in the top half of ML third basemen, but it's one thing for me to say that, and it's another thing for a GM to trade a starting 2B to acquire a guy coming off a knee injury and put him at a position he hasn't played much the last few years.
   62. Banta Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:27 AM (#3896021)
Murphy, our bench player, was 5th in the NL in BA when he went down.

All that really shows me is the limitations of batting average, because even batting .320, he was only a 124 OPS+ player. Sure, if he adds some more power with that average, he's better... but the more likely case is that the .292 career MLB hitter with the .295 career minor league average is probably around a .300 hitter, BEST CASE. The power being lower this year looks to me like a matter of 3 or 4 homeruns. Will they return? Playing in Citi, maybe not. His walk rate isn't substantially lower than what he put up in his only full MLB season either, so I'm not seeing a big boost there either.

So, what does that get you? .300/.350/.450? Nice, but as others have said, he doesn't have a position. Now, I'm not an expert on playing second base but one of my thoughts when I saw the injury yesterday was "God, I'm not surprised that was brutal... with his leg in that position, I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often." Which leads me to believe that most real second baseman wouldn't allow themselves to be put into that position.... or at least players that don't play with the reckless abandon that Murphy plays with. I do not know if Murphy is that intelligent off the field, but his onfield instincts have always been questionable because of his almost uncontrollable aggression. Really, at this point, I don't think you can assume that he can learn to play otherwise, to remember to protect himself occasionally. And even if he can, who's to say that he doesn't get hurt again before that happens?

The best plan would seem to be the one that would probably NEVER be tried, which is Murphy to third and Wright to the outfield. Otherwise, I just don't see a place for Murphy in the starting lineup. Which, I admit, seems wrong, but his best-case is basically what Ike put up in his rookie year. And outside of first and third, he's too much of a liability (defensively and for his own injury protection) to start.

EDIT: Sounds like Alderson and Collins are talking about Murphy back to the outfield for '12.
   63. NTNgod Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:41 AM (#3896026)
NY Times:
Alderson said he would always try to find playing time for Murphy because of his bat (Murphy was hitting .320), and would not rule out the possibility of Murphy’s remaining at second base, but Collins was more direct in his assessment of Murphy as an infielder. Last year, Murphy hurt his other knee in a collision at second base in a minor league game, and Sunday he hobbled away awkwardly after Atlanta’s Jose Constanza slid into him during the seventh inning.

While Murphy said he believed he could not have done anything more to protect himself this time, Collins, after looking at replays of the incident, said Murphy’s positioning on the play may have played a part in the injury.

“It’s something that reinforces the fact that these guys, as great athletes as they are, you just can’t go out there and play some position you’re unfamiliar with,” Collins said of Murphy. “I’ll talk to Dan about it, but the position his leg was in on that play, I’ve played a lot of second base, it never was in that position. He’s got to understand where he needs to be, where his feet need to be.”
   64. Sam M. Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:44 AM (#3896028)
There's a pretty interesting thread here, complete with pictures of some other second basemen -- including some very good defensive players -- making very similar plays to the one Murphy got hurt on. You can see some things they seem to be doing very much the same (planting the knee horizontal to the ground, which seems risky and leaving them vulnerable to impact), and some they seem to be doing differently (the positioning of the knee relative to the bag and thus where the runner's legs are most likely to be arriving if he slides in feet first). My overall conclusion is that Murphy didn't do anything all that out of the ordinary on the play, or something he wasn't taught to do, but probably didn't position himself as well as he should have -- and perhaps importantly, something he couldn't be taught with some additional experience and nuance.

That, of course, is a separate question from whether, overall, he is or would be an adequate defensive second baseman. My view is that he is weak on the DP and makes some very poor decisions; these are issues that are much less painful to the team when he's playing first base, though they do rear their head at times. He's relatively solid on your basic range plays and getting the ball to first base.

My view remains: get him healthy, get him to spring training where he can prove he's healthy (both to the Mets and to other potential trade partners), and then see if there's a market. If there is, explore it. If not, keep him. He would be an extremely valuable bench player to the Mets, and if a 120 OPS+ player is too good for that role, GOOD. The more the Mets have players who are better than what their competition has in the same role, the better chance they have to win. That's kind of the point.
   65. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:48 AM (#3896033)
All that really shows me is the limitations of batting average, because even batting .320, he was only a 124 OPS+ player.

I continue to be stupid, because I can't find where that rates for the league, but I am curious.
   66. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:51 AM (#3896034)
I definitely thought it was worth it to try Murph at 2B, and was willing to keep trying it even after one season-ending injury... but after two season-ending injuries, yup, let's stop.

Watch the play. WTF did Murphy do wrong? He was even behind the bag, using it as protection. Costanza had a miserable slide and simply came over it and landed on Murphy. Somehow saying "Let's stop" as if Murphy had some kind of control over this particular injury is pretty ridiculous.

And now we can affirm that he is officially injury-prone.

No. No, no, no. I've watched the play five times now. Tell me, I can be convinced I'm stupid, believe me; but how on earth is this injury Murphy's fault?


Lassus, what the hell are you talking about? I watched the play, expecting to fully agree with you. Instead, I completely disagree with you. He draped his left leg over the area just behind the bag, in the path of the runner. He left his leg completely vulnerable to a slide-through by the runner. I can't recall ever seeing a second baseman do that with his leg. I believe they either stand up, or take the throw from the C in front of the bag. Regardless, they don't kneel next to the base like that.

Based on that play, it's not unfair to ask if Murphy has the instincts to handle 2B without getting hurt. I'd still play him there, and I think he's trainable, but they should teach him proper technique.
   67. Sam M. Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:52 AM (#3896035)
All that really shows me is the limitations of batting average, because even batting .320, he was only a 124 OPS+ player.

I continue to be stupid, because I can't find where that rates for the league, but I am curious.


I can't answer that, but I can note that David Wright tonight raised his OPS to .813, slightly ahead of Murphy's .809. So he has a higher OPS+, even though Wright is hitting almost 50 points less (.271).
   68. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:55 AM (#3896037)
If he's a) not really a .320 hitter, probably more like a .290 hitter, b) doesn't walk much or hit for power and c) can only play in the corners, then that guy is probably a bench player.


He's hit .313 (150 PA), .266, and .320 in the majors from ages 23-26. He's got a .292 career average. It's not unfair to say he's a .290 hitter, but I think it's reasonable to expect more than that as he hits his peak years. Or at least a bit more production than his 111 OPS+, which is still pretty good if he can hang at 2B (or 3B, but not with Wright there).
   69. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:58 AM (#3896039)
Watch the play. WTF did Murphy do wrong? He was even behind the bag, using it as protection.

Well I don't think I've ever seen a secondbaseman have his leg parallel to the ground like that before. It would've been fine if Costanza's leg hadn't popped off the bag directly into his leg, but it's not surprising at all that his MCL got thrashed when he was positioned like that.


Yes.
   70. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:00 AM (#3896040)
Cokes all around.
   71. Banta Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:01 AM (#3896042)
All I can find is the top ten NL Adjusted OPS+. I would be interested if someone knew if you can access this on BR without PI (or with PI, for that matter, having never subscribed, I'm not clear on everything you can do with it).

Pujols is 10th with a 145 OPS+, fwiw.
   72. bobm Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:18 AM (#3896047)
[71] All I can find is the top ten NL Adjusted OPS+. I would be interested if someone knew if you can access this on BR without PI

For 2011 NL, see "Player Standard Batting" section of this page

You can sort player stats by OPS+ and choose whether to "hide non-qualifiers for rate stats"
   73. Sam M. Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:26 AM (#3896050)
The NY Times Bats blog asked people to comment on the "reasons to still go to Citifield," now that the Mets are pretty much out of it, and with all the injuries now casting a gloom over things. Most of the answers, predictably, have been snarky as hell about the team and the owners, and all the rest. But answer # 68, from Sheryl in West Palm Beach, made me smile:

You go because of games like tonight.


If I were straight, I'd ask Sheryl to marry me.
   74. Banta Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:33 AM (#3896055)
Thanks, bob!

So Murphy was 22nd in the NL. Higher than I would have thought. Still, that's not a premium bat at first base. If he could only play the outfield....
   75. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2011 at 05:29 AM (#3896080)
You're not going to get a starting player for Daniel Murphy. Position issues aside, the obvious reason for this is because Murphy has never been a starting player. He might be a starting quality player but he simply hasn't had the chance to show it.

The point (made) about getting a starting 2B from a team looking for a 3B -- why not move that extra starting 2B to 3B. And I believe the following is the complete list of 2B making more than $10 M: Utley, Cano. Maybe Brian Roberts but I assume the Mets don't want to go there.

It's not impossible. You could see a "one starter for two semi-prospects and two bench players" type of trade. But basically Muprhy is (on the upside) Jayson Werth (without the defense) before he became Jayson Werth. Alas he's also roughly Matt Murton ca 2006. He's Seth Smith or a younger Ryan Spillborghs. Or Jon Jay or Allen Craig or Nate Schierholz or a young Cuddyer (not a bad overall comp I wouldn't think -- same positions, same defensive rep). If the Mets ever put him and keep him in the lineup for a full season, then he maybe moves up and becomes a Cuddyer and a couple years of that makes him a tradeable commodity.

There may well be teams out there who see Murphy as a full-time starter -- but those are the teams calling to try to pull one over on you because you've got no place to play him. Nobody's going to create a hole on their team to acquire until he has established a position and established himself as a starter.
   76. The District Attorney Posted: August 09, 2011 at 07:21 AM (#3896100)
I was thinking Kevin Kouzmanoff might be a Murphy comp. They're opposites of each other in a sense -- Murphy a high-BA/low-secondary average hitter with a shaky glove, Kouz a low-BA hitter who popped some homers and fielded well -- but I think they both end up in the same place, insofar as being 3B in their mid-20s who were good but not great.

Kouz was traded twice, and although neither haul turned out to amount to much, they both looked pretty good at the time, showing that people at least thought the guy had value. The Indians traded him to the Padres in exchange for Josh Barfield, a (would you believe?) 2B who had just gone 280/318/423 in a full (Petco) season as a 23-year-old rookie. A couple of years later, the Pads dealt Kouz to Oakland. Despite being up for arbitration, he brought in two players, Aaron Cunningham and Scott Hairston. Hairston had actually just left San Diego a few months earlier, where he was one of their better hitters, with 34 HR in the past two seasons (756 AB). The 23-year-old Cunningham had been Baseball America's #55 prospect the prior offseason, and then went 302/379/459 at AAA.
   77. Sam M. Posted: August 09, 2011 at 11:51 AM (#3896121)
You know, you read # 75 & 76 back to back -- one making the case that the Mets ain't gonna be able to trade Murphy for a starting 2b, the other that there's a comparable case showing maybe they can -- and you think, "What does that tell you?"

It tells me that there is absolutely no point speculating about what is possible. We can talk about what we think the Mets should try to accomplish, but there's absolutely no way to know or even guess what the trade market will yield. People said K-Rod was untradeable with that option... but we didn't know he'd already indicated a willingness to bargain it away. People said Alderson couldn't get an elite prospect for Beltran (rental, can't offer arb, teams value prospects). But all it took was one team and GM with a somewhat different calculus (trying to repeat, great need for a bat, has great young pitching). If one team sees Murphy as a player who can help them, that might be all it takes -- regardless of the objective merits of any argument about what Murphy "should" bring or how the market should work.

Maybe the Mets can't find the right value and trading partner. Fine. Maybe the team that values Murphy enough as a third baseman has the surplus value, but only in a SS. I remind you there's a good chance the Mets might need one of those come November, too. Or maybe in a pitcher. A second baseman would be ideal but certainly not mandatory. I'm not as convinced as Walt that a team with a second baseman to spare could just move him to third if they have the need -- some guys are at second for a reason. But hey, maybe that's right. So that's why you see where the value is. In my mind, declaring now a conviction that Alderson can or can't get X or Y for Murphy forgets some pretty recent trading history.
   78. Walt Davis Posted: August 09, 2011 at 11:54 AM (#3896122)
Well, the first Kouz trade was a swap of two prospects. The second one was after Kouz had been near a full-time starter for 3 years and shown he could handle 3B (and Hairston had been terrible for the A's) ... and the A's also got a semi-prospect Eric Sogard in that trade. In fact Hairston's not a bad comp for Murphy -- he started as a 2B.

I don't mean to suggest that he couldn't be traded for, ohh, Darwin Barney. He's definitely of value and tradeable but I just can't see a GM looking at him and saying both "I'd like him to be my starting 3B" and "I'm going to trade for him as if he's alreacy established himself as an average or better starting 3B."
   79. Honkie Kong Posted: August 09, 2011 at 12:04 PM (#3896125)
complete list of 2B making more than $10 M: Utley, Cano

Uggla.

Oh trade him to Seattle. He would be their star hitter. They are not exactly in a position to be choosy.
   80. Lassus Posted: August 09, 2011 at 12:28 PM (#3896136)
He left his leg completely vulnerable to a slide-through by the runner. I can't recall ever seeing a second baseman do that with his leg. I believe they either stand up, or take the throw from the C in front of the bag. Regardless, they don't kneel next to the base like that.

Ray, just because you completely and utterly ignored #64 like it didn't exist does not make it so.
   81. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:05 PM (#3896179)
Ray, just because you completely and utterly ignored #64 like it didn't exist does not make it so.


I looked carefully at #64 and the photos linked to. It's not clear to me what I'm seeing in the photos. They're very close up so you can't get a sense of the angles, where the ball is coming from, what kind of a play it is, etc. Each fielder in the photos is doing something different from what Murphy did -- none of them are in the position Murphy is. Cano looks close, but he's not, really, if you look carefully.

Do they teach the position Murphy got into as proper? Has anyone here ever been taught that? Is Terry Collins incorrect when he says Murphy was in the wrong position?
   82. formerly dp Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:15 PM (#3896189)
I think going back and forth on the wisdom of Murphy's positioning is the wrong question, to some extent. If you think he's a .320 hitter, don't put him somewhere where there's a strong chance he'll suffer a traumatic injury. He's far less likely to suffer an injury like that at 3B or in RF/LF.

Murphy's such a weird player in that he's really hard-working, a smart hitter, and plays hard, but just makes consistently stupid decision on the bases and in the field.

People said Alderson couldn't get an elite prospect for Beltran

Is Wheeler an elite prospect? Beltran did his part, too, by catching fire in July and having a great 2011 in general. I'm way more confident that Alderson will maximize Murphy's value than I was Omar would do so.

Todd Frazier, coming up with the Reds, looks like he's in a similar spot. But if he (Frazier) can actually handle 2B, the Reds might be a good trading partner. Rolen probably doesn't have many years left in him, and they have Phillips at 2B.
   83. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:38 PM (#3896203)
I don't have professional knowledge on 2B positioning. But let me take a stab at it:

1. I don't think the photos in the thread that Sam linked to are very instructive. For one thing, the angles are difficult to tell what's happening in some of them. But one thing stands out, which is that none of those players have their legs stretched out: each has his knee firmly planted on the ground.

2. Yesterday I actually went hunting for video on similar plays, because I thought I'd be industrious enough to put together some photos for comparison. It only took about a dozen videos before I found another player in exactly the same position. In that play, UZR-hero SS Brendan Ryan set up the way that Cano/Utley/Uggla did in the above photos, but because the throw was a foot or two towards the 3B side of the bag, he had to stretch. The stretch means his left leg changed positions from a position of strength (with his weight on the knee) to a position of weakness/imbalance (with only his toes on the ground, knee suspended in air behind the bag). My feeling is that if you watched hundreds of these videos, you'd find lots of players in this position, but almost all of them will be there because they set up in the wrong position or the throw from the catcher tailed away from the runner.

3. With that said, the question is whether or not Murphy was in that position for the right reason or the wrong reason. Brendan Ryan's throw was worse than Murphy's, and he had to stretch more. After watching the video a few more times my opinion is that Murphy did not arrive in a good position that he then had to alter. It looks like dropping his leg down because that was just the way he was comfortable making the play. That does strike me as awkward. But not absurdly so.
   84. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 02:44 PM (#3896209)
1. I don't think the photos in the thread that Sam linked to are very instructive. For one thing, the angles are difficult to tell what's happening in some of them. But one thing stands out, which is that none of those players have their legs stretched out: each has his knee firmly planted on the ground.


Yes, and they're still photos, so we can't tell how the play developed.
   85. zack Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:43 PM (#3896265)
3. With that said, the question is whether or not Murphy was in that position for the right reason or the wrong reason. Brendan Ryan's throw was worse than Murphy's, and he had to stretch more. After watching the video a few more times my opinion is that Murphy did not arrive in a good position that he then had to alter. It looks like dropping his leg down because that was just the way he was comfortable making the play. That does strike me as awkward. But not absurdly so.


It's the way a 1B receives a throw.

Because I think it's interesting, I looked at the 2010 Fan Scouting Report data, looking for players with similar tools across the board to Wright. They're mostly outfielders:

Player         POS     G       Rating          ReactionAcceleratioSpeed   Hands   FootworkArm StrengthArm Accuracy
Rasmus
Colby         8     123      57     163      63         74      82      63      41          48          26
Maier
Mitch          8     103      56      51      61         63      63      57      51          46          49
Wright
David         5     153      55      75      70         69      67      63      38          60          20
Langerhans
Rya       7      33      55      45      62         63      57      57      51          46          49
Harris
Willie        9      50      55      17      64         67      63      62      48          34          44 
   86. Sam M. Posted: August 09, 2011 at 03:54 PM (#3896280)
Is Wheeler an elite prospect?


I guess it depends on where you draw the line for "elite," but yes, I think so. He was a top 10 draft pick, he's got outstanding stuff, almost every scout/prospect rater puts him in the top 40 among minor league prospects. He's almost the definition of the kind of prospect everyone (Kurkjian, Heyman, Olney, Joel Sherman) was saying Alderson would not be able to pry loose for Beltran.

And he's looked damn good since the trade, by the way.
   87. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:03 PM (#3896289)
I would draw the "elite" line just above Wheeler. But he's really close. 10 great starts in AA would put him over it.
   88. formerly dp Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:08 PM (#3896292)
He's almost the definition of the kind of prospect everyone (Kurkjian, Heyman, Olney, Joel Sherman) was saying Alderson would not be able to pry loose for Beltran.

That's fair. Again, I think if Beltran doesn't go ape$hit on the league in July, I don't think they get Wheeler. And it helped that Alderson was willing to put all of his eggs in one basket, taking just the one prospect in return. Like I said, I have a faith in Alderson to not waste Murphy, but that doesn't mean he'll nab a Kipnis or an Ackley for him. The OF would be a good place for him, but it looks like they're going to aim for Duda to be their starting RF in 2011.

Gary and Keith were talking last night about the possibility of not bringing back Pagan next year. That sounds crazy to me. He won't be all that expensive and the Mets don't have anyone that fully baked to step into the CF job.
   89. Ray (RDP) Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:08 PM (#3896293)
It's the way a 1B receives a throw.


A 1B does not have a runner coming into the path of his leg.
   90. Sam M. Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:08 PM (#3896294)
Speaking of prospects, welcome to the pros, Michael Fulmer. The Mets second pick in this year's draft (# 44 overall) made his debut yesterday in the GCL, and you can just imagine how nervous he was. This was his line:

.2 0 2 1 3 1

He was on a 30-pitch limit; gave up two runs (one earned) on three walks and an error. If for some reason his career were to end after that outing, it would be one of the great flame-outs in prospect history. Fortunately, better days (almost certainly) lie ahead.
   91. Sam M. Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:12 PM (#3896298)
Gary and Keith were talking last night about the possibility of not bringing back Pagan next year. That sounds crazy to me. He won't be all that expensive and the Mets don't have anyone that fully baked to step into the CF job.


Well, it's still a good conversation to have, and Cohen made that latter point -- about how nobody is really ready to step into the job, so they'd have to bring in someone from outside the organization.

Wouldn't it be hysterical if (after all of this, including his struggles in left field) it turned out Murphy is a total natural for center field?

I'm kidding, obviously.
   92. zack Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:16 PM (#3896300)
A 1B does not have a runner coming into the path of his leg.


Yes, which is why it is the wrong way for a 2B to recieve a throw. Christ.
   93. formerly dp Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:22 PM (#3896305)
Wouldn't it be hysterical if (after all of this, including his struggles in left field) it turned out Murphy is a total natural for center field?

Watching Murphy get turned around on balls hit to him in CF would be hysterical, especially if you're a Braves, Phillies, Nats, or Fish fan...
   94. PreservedFish Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:32 PM (#3896311)
They say that it is easiest to judge flyballs in center field...
   95. Sam M. Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:38 PM (#3896315)
Watching Murphy get turned around on balls hit to him in CF would be hysterical, especially if you're a Braves, Phillies, Nats, or Fish fan...


Nobody likes a cynic, you know. Even when he's right.

Especially when he's right.
   96. Banta Posted: August 09, 2011 at 04:42 PM (#3896318)
I know you guys are kidding, but you all do remember that Murphy, in addition to his other athletic "skills", is slow as frozen #### covered in molasses buried in an glacier? I think Wright would have a better time in center field.
   97. Sam M. Posted: August 09, 2011 at 05:01 PM (#3896326)
I think Wright would have a better time in center field.


If the injuries and other calamities ever get to the point where the Mets are actually forced to deploy either David Wright or Daniel Murphy in center field, we should all just officially call the whole thing off, find a new sport to enjoy, and just pretend we never heard of the "New York Mets," the 7 Train, Shea, Jerry Koosman, Mookie Wilson, John Olerud, Pedro, or the whole rotten stinkin' mess.
   98. thetailor Posted: August 09, 2011 at 05:08 PM (#3896331)
I think that #9 really nailed the fundamental question -- what you do with Murphy is entirely dependent on what kind of hitter you think he is. If he's a .290 hitter, you move him around the field and let him be a great utility guy. If he's a .320 hitter, then you have to find him a spot.

Unfortunately, no team is going to trade for him now and give you anything near his value. He's been injured twice, and even in this great season, if I were trading for Murphy, I'd argue the whole time that we don't know if he's a .320 hitter for real -- let's see him get through a full season first. So I think the Mets really are in the predicament now where they HAVE to play him, even if he doesn't have a future with the team. So -- where?

I'm actually surprised to hear people even suggest the OF at this point for Murphy. I mean, my goodness ... he was like Todd Hundley level bad out there. He'd have to hit .400 to justify a spot in the outfield IMO.

The real problem with Murphy at second base and the injury he suffered was that it's not instructive on his ability to play second. As others have pointed out, the slide was so unusual that there is a chance that even a more seasoned second baseman gets hurt on it. Even if they do not, his performance on this one play shouldn't really carry much weight because a) its such a rare play and b) something that can be taught since it's such a cut-and-dry scenario. Also, I haven't heard anyone mention that this was Murphy's first time playing second base since early May. Murph might make the proper play on that and avoid injury if he's accustomed to the position.
   99. DCW3 Posted: August 09, 2011 at 05:27 PM (#3896338)
Practically nobody's a "true" .320 hitter. Players with at least a .320 average since the beginning of 2009: Joe Mauer, Miguel Cabrera, Joey Votto. That's it.
   100. Banta Posted: August 09, 2011 at 06:08 PM (#3896357)
Murphy's got a career 111 OPS+ right now. Let's say he's no better than that going forward, which is conservative I think. Going back to the list that bobm provided, that would rank him 35th overall in the NL this year, 35 or 36 in 2010, 36th in '09. So, once again, it seems his bat would make him a solid starter at any position he could handle with the exception of first-base, where he would be slightly-below average.

Not sure what I'm saying, but I hadn't realized that his bat was quite this good.
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