Really, the question of how Murphy will do at second base has as much to do with his ability to stay healthy as his fielding prowess. Sent to Triple-A to learn second base in 2010 (again, after playing a different position for all of spring training) a takeout slide in his second game ended his 2010 season. The same thing happened at second base in 2011, with Murphy going from May 10 until August 7 without playing second base, then getting inserted mid-game at the position after injuries had left the Mets short-handed. An inning later, his season was over again.
Atlanta’s Dan Uggla, whose offensive profile is similar to Murphy’s has made a career of fielding just well enough at second base to keep himself in the lineup. He’s made two all-star teams, and is in the second year of a five-year, $62 million contract.
If Murphy can merely field as well as Uggla, he could do as much as Uggla has for himself and his team. If Murphy plays defense like he did last night, it’s possible that he could do a great deal more.